When you’re tinkering away in your workshop, it’s easy to lose yourself in your activity. Whether you’re turning a discarded bit of wood into a side table or you’re building a model train set, before you know it hours have passed. It happens to us all!
However, if you’re not taking the proper precautions for your workshop then you could be endangering your health. We’re talking about dust. The common enemy for dedicated DIYers and newbies alike, gone unchecked dust can pose some very real risks to your health.
In this article, we’re going to give you some pointers on how to prevent dust in your workshop. We’ll also look at the health effects of dust and what it is exactly that causes dust. Take a look!
What causes dust?
A quick scientific segue: dust is caused by a multitude of different particles and contaminants in the air, from outside sources and also from within. Dust particles are often made up of the following: pollen, soil, pet dander, and even dead skin (in microscopic traces). Of course, given the nature of the activity in your workshop, there’s probably more. Dust is a particular issue for woodworking shops, for example.
Basically, dust comes from everywhere and the important thing is that you keep on top of it. You also need to regularly clean and maintain your tools, too.
What are the health effects of dust?
Prolonged exposure to dusty environments can be highly detrimental to your health, and because it’s so hard to detect you need to keep on top of it. Dust can contain microscopic solids (or even droplets) that find their way into your lungs.
Depending on the size of the particles, the risks to health can vary. Here are the main health effects of dust:
-Reduced lung function.
-Irritation of the airways, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and general difficulty breathing.
-Aggravation of asthma, COPD, and other respiratory conditions.
What to do after inhaling dust
If you feel that you’ve spent too much time in a dusty environment, there are things you can do to help clear your airways. Try the following:
–Steam therapy. Steam therapy/steam inhalation helps to add moisture to your airways so that your breathing isn’t so dry. Generally, it will help you breathe more easily.
–Drink green tea. One of the many benefits of green tea is that it contains antioxidants which will reduce inflammation in the airways and lungs
–Eat anti-inflammatory foods. Certain foods will also help reduce inflammation, like beans, olives, leafy greens, and blueberries.
How to protect yourself (and your tools) from dust exposure while on the job
Whether you’re a DIY/construction professional or you’ve just got a few home improvement projects going on, there are things you can do as part of your process that will help keep on top of dust.
Lay down a protective ‘path’ in/around your workspace
Using canvas, polythene or plastic sheeting, laying down a ‘path’ will prevent you from treading dust and debris into the other spaces of your home (or, perhaps even worse, the home of a client or customer).
Make a plastic ‘passage’
Similar to the tip above, you can also hang sheets of polythene/plastic from the ceiling if your work is particularly prone to dust spreading. This way, you’ll be able to isolate the space you’re working from. You can lay a spare piece of wood (or anything heavy) to anchor the sheet to the floor.
Vacuum while you work
Lots of tradespeople have their own vacuum cleaners they can use while working, and it’s a great idea to tackle dust. If you’re drilling into drywall, for example, then you definitely need one.
Buy a respirator
Respirators will protect your body from dust exposure, and they’ll do it far better than actual dust masks. It’s an important distinction because respirators are specifically designed to protect you from 95% of all small particles. If you see N95 on the label, then it’s a respirator.
Portable air cleaner/filtration system
Perhaps one of the best ways to combat dust and air contamination is with an air filtration system. It will work to clean the air in your workspace, leaving you with a clean environment so you can continue working. The air purification products from Dimplex are highly recommended.
Store your tools properly to combat dust
Now you have the information to protect yourself from dust, you need the equipment and know-how to protect your tools from dust damage. Our heavy duty toolboxes come equipped with dust proof properties, and our protective tool control foam will house your tools in high quality foam to keep them from harm.
DIY custom foam
Another service we offer is DIY custom foam. With our Easy Peel products, all you do is tell us the exact size and specifications you need for your tools (using our calculator page) and we’ll give you an instant price. Complete the order, and we’ll have your completely unique inserts shipped to your door. When they arrive, follow the instructions in our Foam Tutorials page and you’re good to go with your tool control foam! You can also get in touch with us here.
In the meantime, check out our blog section. We regularly update it with only the latest developments, and if you found the above useful then you may find the following useful too:
- How to DIY: A guide to DIY for beginners
- Workbench hacks: How to get the most from your workbench
- 10 tips for toolbox organisation