IT IS the common mining and construction hazard that causes upwards of 40,000 deaths globally each year and is so hazardous it recently ranked number two in SafeWork NSW’s 100 ‘priority chemicals list’ of harmful workplace materials.
Crystalline silica – according to the government body – is a common mineral used across the mining and construction sectors and is present in substances such as shale and concrete. Workers can be exposed to the substance in particular during activities such as tunnelling and excavation and a health hazard is created when tiny particles of crystalline silica are inhaled.
Repeated inhalation of the substance can lead to a condition known as silicosis, which in its acute form causes shortness of breath, cough, fever and potentially lung cancer.
Responding to industry calls to mitigate risk, Tennant Australia has created one way to do this with a HEPA filter equipped sweeper and new function on its signature ProPanel machines which are designed to reduce airborne particles and debris.
With what it is calling its new ‘WOC’ functionality – an acronym for ‘Wet Only with Conservation’, the company says the option cleans through ‘wet sweeping’ or ‘water flooding’ while conserving time and money.
Pro-Panel WOC enabled machines are water only units and have all of the scrubbing features available on the company’s sweeper scrubber combination M20 and M30 machines. A single touch of the LCD Pro-Panel configures the machine for wet sweeping by setting the machine to its lowest water flow and down pressure.
Low water flow provides a continual water flow that delivers moisture around debris so that the recovery system can effectively pick it up. Operators can add more water to the floor to enclose and prevent dust from becoming airborne.
The Pro-Panel is adept at conserving time because it enables an operator to quickly set the machine to wet sweeping. Low water flow extends scrub time by minimising the number of dump and fill cycles which in turn increases productivity.
Low water flow results in fewer solution tank refills and water usage costs while light down pressure means longer scrub brush life. This WOC feature can be added only to existing machines or ordered as an optional extra on new machines.