Controlling harmful dust exposure when working with fibre cement

A lot of rapid growth is being witnessed in respect to the use of fibre cement siding in several construction and renovation tasks. The durability and look of fibre cement siding, which mimics woods minus its maintenance problems, is attractive and offers a competitive benefit over other construction materials. However, working with fibre cement may expose construction workers to crystalline silica, which can cause diseases such as lung cancer, silicosis, kidney disease and other ailments. So how can construction workers control their exposure to the harmful crystalline silica when working with fibre cement? Here are some of the recommended controls.

Shop vacuum

First, connecting your circular saw to a regular shop vacuum is a simple and affordable engineering solution to inhibit the dust produced from cutting fibre cement siding. Ideally, choose a shop vacuum featuring an air –flow rate of at least 30 cubic feet per minute (CFM). When cutting fibre cement siding, the air flow generated by the spinning circular blade causes a significant share of the dust produced to be collected in the shop vacuum.

Vacuum hose

You will need a hose to connect the shop vacuum to the power saw you'll be using. Ideally, the connecting hose should have at least an internal diameter of 1.25 inches to facilitate sufficient airflow for the detention and transportation of saw dust. For absolute efficiency, make sure the hose is only long as needed and kept as straight as much as possible.

Filter bag

Workers can also employ the use of a high efficiency filter bag to act as a prefilter inside the shop vacuum in order to trap most of the dust. Consequently, the life span of the filter cartridge, which typically traps the dust that passes through the filter bag, will significantly be prolonged.

Vacuum switch

You should plug the circular saw and shop vacuum into a smart vacuum switch. This removes the distraction for the worker of constantly switching on and off the dust collection system and makes sure the vacuum is functional while operating the circular saw, steering clear of unrestrained dust release. In addition, the switch bides its time in switching off the shop vacuum when you turn off the circular saw. This helps to eliminate the remaining dust inside the vacuum hose after cutting the fibre cement. A number of shop vacuums come with built-in smart vacuum switches. However for those shop vacuums that don't have, you can buy an aftermarket vacuum switch.