Let’s continue our focus on ensuring that we are doing all we can to create a safe and productive work environment.
What situation causes you the most grief? Are you kidding? Where do I start! Yes we can relate. But what situation do you deal with day after day that is directly related to your health.
Dust. Bags of the stuff.
The sawdust from your first pass with your sander may contain remnants of lead paint and lacquer finishes. And the finer the dust the greater the health implications are. Dust particles smaller than 10 microns (a human hair is approximately 100 microns) can bed into the tissues of your lungs and perhaps never leave. Many of the species of wood floors we sand are known to be carcinogenic. Obviously every effort needs to be made to minimize our exposure. Not only are we concerned about the physical dangers of exposing ourselves to sanding dust but in certain situations fine dust has been known to spontaneously combust.
How do we combat this problem?
The first step is simple: make sure that dust from the sander is contained. If you still use the cloth dust bag connected to your sander, make sure it is tightly fastened to the neck of your machine that the zipper is completely closed and there are no holes in the bag. Keep in mind that as the bag fills the total filter area is shrinking, meaning more dust is escaping the bag and is back into the air. To maximize the dust control empty the dust bag often.
If you have transitioned to a dust collection system, congratulations! You have taken a step to a cleaner job site and healthier work conditions. Hoses should be statically grounded, durable, and sealed airtight throughout their entire length. Your dustbin should be located far from the work area and should have a system in place that lets you tie off the liner bags for simple, mess-free, disposal.
Next to keep dust from being airborne choose to use vacuums with certified HEPA filtration. Non-HEPA vacuums, are not as efficient and will often leave you cleaning up (or worse, breathing in) the fine dust. To learn more about dust and its impact on your health, please read the CCOHS article.
A real craftsman looks for ways to work safe and provide an elevated service the home owner will appreciate. We hope your continued efforts to control the bags of dust you collect will help reduce anxiety and result in a healthy you.