It is possible and necessary to reduce dustiness even during DIY activities!Giulia Reiso
Many building materials during production, installation (especially when dry cut with tools) or demolition can produce dust. We refer both to natural products, such as marble and granite, and to artificial products such as bricks, concrete, ceramics, glass and also to the new materials called “Engineered Stone” (conglomerates of siliceous particles of various sizes, mixed with polymeric resins).
Workers in industrial and artisanal activities that produce and manipulate these materials are exposed to the inhalation of dust consisting of silicates and in particular of free crystalline silica.
Silicosis was one of the first recognized occupational diseases in our country. It is a very serious disease: it is irreversible, permanent, disabling and incurable, caused by the accumulation in the lungs (respiratory tract) of respirable free crystalline silica dust (exposure to silica), i.e. dust with indicative particles of less than 10 micrometers.
IMA-Europe, the European Association of producers and importers of industrial minerals, encourages mining companies and in general all industrial companies to pay more and more attention to these important issues and to continuously improve their performance in this area, insisting among other things on training about the properties of materials and their safe use: from their extraction and processing to the entire value chain.
In 2006 IMA-Europe brought together a wide range of industrial sectors and trade union representatives interested in tackling together the complex issue of occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS). Together they founded NEPSI (European Network for Silica) to implement good practices in the field and gradually and significantly reduce exposure to RCS.
NEPSI is the first European multi-sectoral social dialogue agreement of its kind and covers the safety of over two million employees from 19 industrial sectors. The project is still very active after 15 years and its signatories are committed to continuously implement the most advanced technical measures to safely manage the problem of respirable crystalline silica and to ensure full compliance of the activities with the Directive on unhealthy agents and all local regulations.
The NEPSI Good Practice Guide provides practical information for industries working with materials containing crystalline silica to progressively improve worker health protection over time.
However, IMA-Europe’s activity did not stop at the industrial sector. In fact, IMA has recently been published a website where best practices in the field of do-it-yourself work are set out: good practice advice provided to consumers who may be exposed to dust during DIY activities, in order to reduce it as much as possible, through very simple but effective measures.
The application of the main control techniques to all dusty DIY activities provides a good basis for prevention.
FOCUS: MINIMIZING DUST!
There are simple steps to avoid dust generation, detailed on the website: