Dust Risk Assessment

Identify dust risk level with a handheld device
Comply with COSHH regulatory standards more efficiently

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Published March 26th, 2020

What is a Dust Risk Assessment?

A dust risk assessment is a tool used by safety officers to control tasks so that they do not create high levels of construction dust such as silica, wood, and lower toxicity dust. It helps to evaluate if the amount of dust emission magnitude exceeds with the Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL) in construction activities like demolition, earthworks, construction, and trackout. 

Why Perform Dust Risk Assessment?

Overexposure to dust can lead to chronic diseases such as lung cancer, silicosis, and asthma. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report, over 500 construction workers die from exposure to silica dust every year in the United Kingdom alone. As compliance with the COSHH Regulations (2002), preventive measures should be implemented to protect employees from overexposure to hazardous substances.

This article briefly discusses: (1) best practices to implement control measures, (2) technology for conducting dust risk assessments, and (3) digital dust risk assessment templates you can use for free.

Best Practices to Implement Control Measures

Following the hierarchy of controls can be effective in implementing the right control measures to reduce health risks. Evaluate the risk and identify the level of priority before implementing any course of action. This would help secure employees from overexposure to harmful substances and prevent incidents and injuries.

hierarchy of controls

  1. Elimination
    This is the most effective control measure because it entails physically removing or avoiding hazards. For example, use special cutting techniques to prevent the formation of dust rather than grinding or sawing.
  2. Substitution
    This involves replacing hazardous equipment with non-hazardous ones. For example, rather than mixing dry components, use dust-suppressed materials and emulsions.
  3. Engineering Controls
    This control measure physically isolates people from hazards or creates physical controls to help minimize risk. For example, creating a physical enclosure of dust-formulating procedures under negative air pressure.
  4. Administrative Controls
    This control measure limits employees’ exposure to the hazards by controlling the extent of the exposure. For example, reducing the number of employees and changing the frequency and duration of exposure to construction dust.
  5. RPE (Respiratory Protective Equipment)
    This control measure helps protect employees from first-hand exposure to construction dust. For example, using a respirator or mask when cutting wood to avoid direct inhalation of wood dust or other harmful substances.

Technology for Conducting Dust Risk Assessments

Performing dust risk assessments and implementing control measure can be a regulatory burden for safety officers due to huge amount of paperwork. Using a mobile inspection app like iAuditor, you can easily identify dust risk levels and assign corrective measures in real time. It also helps to streamline validating report documentation processes. iAuditor offers:

  • Unlimited photo attachment with detailed notes using a handheld device.
  • Cloud-based recordkeeping that can be accessed via mobile device or desktop.
  • Premium subscription for easy analysis through analytics dashboard.



Jona Tarlengco

SafetyCulture staff writer

Jona has been part of SafetyCulture for more than 2 years contributing her experience in writing quality and well-researched content. She usually writes a topic about risks, safety, and quality.