Best Practices

Tips for Construction Site Dust Control

Dust and debris generated during both construction and demolition projects can create serious health risks for both workers and people in the surrounding area. That’s a problem, because these types of jobs create a lot of dust. It’s up to the contractor to ensure that harmful airborne particles do not spread from their jobsite. We’ve put together some tips and best practices that will help you with controlling dust at demolition and construction sites.

Why dust suppression is necessary

The reason that dust is harmful on a jobsite is that it will often contain more than just dirt. Construction and demolition sites can throw silica, heavy metals, asbestos, bacteria, pollen, and more into the air, where they can be spread around by the wind. Those substances can cause respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and lead to liability issues if the proper dust suppression measures weren’t taken. You don’t want your crew working all day breathing in these potentially harmful materials.

Use physical barriers to block the wind

Although you won’t be able to completely seal off your jobsite from the outside world, physical barriers do have an important role to play when it comes to dust suppression. They are especially crucial when working in populated areas near other buildings, roads, and sidewalks. The primary job of fencing and other barriers is to block the wind to keep it from whipping up the dust. It’s important to place them at right angles to one another in stages rather than around the perimeter of the site, to break up excessive wind.

Water is key

Wetting the ground helps the dust and dirt particles bind together and resist becoming airborne. Most dust suppression systems use misting cannons and water sprayers to keep the ground moist and prevent dust from blowing around. For effective demolition or construction site dust control, it’s important to wet the entire work area, including the dirt roads that your haul trucks and other equipment are driving up and down all day long. Many advanced dust suppression systems will automatically activate after a given time period or whenever high dust levels are detected.

Apply dust suppression products

Substances like calcium chloride have long been used for their dust control capabilities. Because chlorides are hygroscopic materials, they can be deployed to soak up the water vapor that is available from the environment. They are great at attracting water to areas of your site which would otherwise dry out and become dusty.

Cover materials when storing

Construction materials such as sand, gravel, and cement should be appropriately covered and stored to minimize dust emissions. Using covered storage areas, tarps, or plastic sheeting can help reduce the amount of dust generated during the handling and transportation of these materials. These methods help with construction site dust control and prevent wasted materials.

Don’t drive too fast

The key for dust suppression is reducing travel speeds in unpaved areas, because driving too quickly kicks up dust into the air. Dropping your speed even just from 45 to 35 MPH can lower dust generation by up to 22%.

Keep your jobsite clean

Regular maintenance and cleaning of your construction jobsite are critical for dust suppression and preventing harmful particles from spreading through the air. We recommend regularly sweeping dusty areas, washing down surfaces, and removing debris to prevent dust from accumulating, blowing, and becoming airborne.

If you have any questions about construction site dust control or dust suppression systems, contact our team today.