Fog Suppresses Serious Dust Hazards in the Workplace

Any business involved in cutting, polishing or processing stone and minerals has a legal duty to protect staff and must ensure that employees are protected from dust hazards in the workplace, such as inhaling stone dust.

As the news item below illustrates, failure to do this can result in severe penalties for the business and its directors.

Having been involved in the quarry industry for several decades, Renby fully understand the nature of dust hazards in the workplace. That’s why we developed our revolutionary dust suppression system: MicronFog™.

We’ve helped quarries, brickworks, industrial ceramics manufacturers and root vegetable packers and processors to reduce airborne dust. In so doing we’ve also reduced their exposure to legislative penalties.

Using Fog in the Workshop

warehouse dust

Large area fogging

Fog works like this: the fog droplets are so fine that they hang in the air, mingling with airborne particles of dust. When the water and dust particles combine, the combined weight is greater than the stone dust alone and the combined droplet and dust particles simply fall from the air.

 

There are several ways in which MicronFog™ can help to control dust hazards in the workplace:

Large area fogging: Fog provides general dust suppression throughout the workshop.

Work stations: Nozzles around the work station positioned dependent on the type of work being carried out can prevent dust becoming rapidly airborne. Much in the same way as wet working stone can do, but without the puddles!

Packing areas: these can sometimes be forgotten. However, a few nozzles in a packing area can help reduce dust build up.

Vehicle and work movement: Dust arising from industrial vehicle and sack truck movements is suppressed.

example of fogging misting system suppressing dust

Fogging can be cheaper and more effective for dust suppression than other methods.

Stonemasonry Director Faces Possible Prison Sentence

Allowing employees to breathe dust can have serious consequences.

In 2014 the director of a London masonry company was fined £9000 in costs and given a 10-month prison sentence suspended for 2 years for breaching Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

This is because he allowed workers to be exposed to harmful stone dust and ignored improvement notices. The stonemasonry company only escaped a £50,000 fine for separate breaches of the legislation because it was no longer trading, and therefore did not have the means to pay the fine.

Between January and June 2013, employees were placed at unnecessary risk of inhaling dust, which can cause long-term health problems. The company and director were sentenced in July 2014 after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

This had identified serious concerns in early 2013 during an inspection, where they revealed that the extraction ventilation system in the factory was inadequate and had not been properly tested to ensure it was fit for purpose.

Breathable Dust is NOT “A fact of life” in Stonework

The Court heard that stone dust was commonplace at the stonemasonry through frequent polishing and grinding work. If stone dust is inhaled it can cause asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), silicosis or even lung cancer, so it is vital that adequate measures are used to limit exposure.

The HSE served two improvement notices which required urgent changes, but found in two follow-up visits in June 2013 that nothing had changed. After the hearing HSE Inspector Saif Deen said:

"Stone dust can be incredibly harmful and exposure, even over a relatively short period, can have devastating consequences.”

“It is therefore vital that companies involved in processes that generate airborne dust have effective systems in place to extract harmful particles, and provide adequate personal protective equipment for their employees.”

There are several other examples of companies being fined after workers developed dust-related diseases (link opens in new window).

MicronFog™ can remove the threat of dust hazards in the workplace and keep the HSE Inspectors happy.