3 ways to reduce dust when grinding concrete
Typically, concrete grinding is done using a heavy-duty floor grinder with a diamond tool, unlike a handheld grinder, which typically weighs 500 pounds or more. The diamond tools spin at high speed and the high pressure on the concrete causes it to break up into very small pieces – silica dust. Silica dust is one of the most dangerous dust particles because it is small enough to penetrate deep into your lungs. When you inhale silica dust, it can enter your lungs and then enter your brain.
A 2017 study published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Research evaluated dust levels in construction workers’ homes and found elevated levels of PM2.5 particulates over time, even when wearing masks.
A 2006 article in the American Journal of Public Health reviewed 11 studies and found “significant associations significantly between exposure, duration of exposure, and adverse health effects.
While there is no way to eliminate dust, there are ways to minimize it. Here are three ways to reduce the dust generated by grinding so you can protect yourself and your employees.
1. Wear personal protective gear.
When you grind concrete, you should always wear a dust mask, eye protection, and gloves when grinding concrete. David recommends using a dust mask and goggles when grinding because it will help reduce the amount of dust you breathe in during the process. You never know what’s in the concrete and you don’t want to breathe in any of the dust particles. How to choose the mask, please refer to the following links: NIOSH Guide to the Selection and Use of Particulate Respirators
2. Get a HEPA dust extractor with HEPA filters.
A HEPA dust extractor is a professional air-cleaning unit that can clean a work area several times over. Use HEPA vacuums to capture every last bit of dust in your work area— that is, it can filter dust and allergens deeply enough to keep them out of your lungs and prevent your eyes, nose, throat, and chest from being affected.
The dust collector must also have a filter with an efficiency of 99% or better and a cyclone pre-separator or filter cleaning mechanism. Cyclone pre-separators and filter cleaning mechanisms prevent debris from accumulating on the filter.
Typically, if a heavy-duty grinder has a 15-inch grinding disc, then the vacuum cleaner must provide at least 400 cubic feet per minute of airflow. This is our opinion based on customer feedback and testing, you can reconfigure the vacuum cleaner according to the actual situation.
3. Use more water for less dust.
Wet grinding may not be the best solution, but it is one of the best ways to reduce the amount of dust generated by concrete grinding. Choose a grinder with an automatic water jet that sprays water as you grind to keep the floor wet, which will prevent silica dust from spreading into the air, thus greatly reducing the risk of inhaling silica. You can also prepare a sprayer to manually spray water to moisten the floor.
Whether you’re grinding concrete on a large scale or in your own garage, reducing dust is important for everyone involved — not just for your health, but also speed of your work.
When you need a concrete surface preparation machine, Honway is here to help you. We want you and your team to be completely safe on the job, which is why we only develop and sell high-quality concrete grinding, polishing, scarifying, leveling machines, and tools. If you have any questions about concrete finishing, give us a call or email and we’ll do our best to help you.