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Dust off

Coates Hire is addressing the dangers of silica-dust with a range of dust-mitigation equipment.

A silent danger on work sites is the dust given-off when materials such as concrete, reconstituted stone, brick and sandstone are cut or drilled.

Amongst the visible dust are invisible particles called silica dust, referred to by doctors as ‘respirable crystalline silica’. These ultra-fine particles can be breathed into the lung tissue where they accumulate and can lead to silicosis (irreversible stiffening of the lungs), lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease.

Workplace regulators and bodies such as SafeWork NSW, SafeWork Australia and WorkSafe Victoria are introducing guidelines for employers to monitor air quality and worker exposure to silica dust. In line with this workplace policy development, Coates Hire is rolling out a suite of dust-mitigation products that connect directly onto cutting, drilling and grinding general hire equipment and either remove or suppress the silica dust.
“In the United States and Europe, they have regulated silica dust in the workplace,” says Darell Kamphuis, Category Manager – General Hire. “In Australia we’re still at the guideline stage, but Coates Hire has trialled a range of equipment from many suppliers to address this important safety issue.  Silica dust is a daily hazard for so many workers and we’re making the dust-mitigation gear easy to use and offering it as an add-on safety solution to customers who hire concrete cutting, drilling or grinding equipment.”

Kamphuis says dust-mitigation equipment falls into two types: suppressing the dust with water at the cutting area; and extraction using universal kits that remove the dust at the point of contact. The extraction kits are attached to an M-class vacuum extractor.

“In the first phase, we will be rolling out the equipment to ten major locations around Australia and these branches will stock the full range of dust-mitigation kits” says Kamphuis. “Our branch people are trained to explain that silica dust is a hazardous material and we can usually match a solution to the customer’s application.”

He says Coates Hire works with both local and international suppliers who have the best dust-mitigation solutions suitable to the hire industry.

“The dust-mitigation gear is simple to use and it creates a cleaner workplace. It isn’t just the person using the power tool who is affected by the dust – everyone sharing the enclosed space can breathe it in. Mitigating the dust creates a much safer work environment.”
 
View our Silica Dust Mitigation Range here.

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