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General Construction (2004) -- Success with Silica

State: Illinois
Company: P. J. Hoerr, Inc.
Industry: General Building Contractor – Non-Residential
(SIC Code 1611/NAICS Code 11061)
Employees: 150
Success Brief: P.J. Hoerr, Inc., was able to avoid employee exposure to concrete silica dust and save significant money on the cost of dust clean up.

The Problem:

When construction on an addition to a medical facility was near completion, it became necessary to grind high spots off of the concrete floor. The company wanted to avoid exposing its employees, as well as other workers nearby, to the concrete silica dust that would be generated during the grinding process. Using a wet system was not feasible inside the nearly completed building.

The Solution:

To contain the concrete silica dust, the Company purchased a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner ($600 - $1200) that was equipped with a housing that fit around the grinder (See photograph below). All of the concrete dust particles generated during the grinding were sucked from inside the housing into the vacuum cleaner and contained by the HEPA filter. Use of the vacuum cleaner housing prevented any particles from escaping into the ambient air.

The Impact:

Employee exposure to the hazardous silica dust generated during grinding of the concrete was completely eliminated. In addition to this immediate health benefit, the Company avoided the hazardous and costly process of cleaning up the silica dust that would otherwise have been deposited on the walls and floor of the facility.

The Source:

Mr. Steve Williams, Safety Coordinator, P. J. Hoerr, Inc. (July 2004).

Use of HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner prevents silica dust from escaping into the air.

Use of HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner prevents silica dust from escaping into the air.

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