Dust situation and protective measures in stonemasons' businesses

Project No. BIA 3026


completed 12/1997


More recent measurements of fine quartz dust concentrations in a number of stonemasons' businesses revealed that the maximum workplace concentrations were exceeded in some cases by a wide margin. The equipment provided for dust collection was either not inherently inadequate, or could not be used sufficiently effectively. The unexpectedly high fine quartz dust concentrations can be attributed in part to the widespread replacement of traditional manual stoneworking techniques with mechanized stoneworking methods. High-speed manual grinding machines (such as angle grinders) are frequently used for coarse or fine working. Power chipping hammers are also employed. The collection capacity of flexible suction arms, which are used almost universally at present, is inadequate, particularly when mechanized methods of stoneworking are employed. Furthermore, their handling does not take practical conditions into account. A need therefore existed for new means of dust collection to be found, and for solutions to be tested in practical use with different stoneworking methods. In many cases, the selection of effective dust collection equipment had to make allowance for local conditions. The conditions on construction sites, for example, generally differ from those in permanent workshops. In addition, the masonry methods and procedures employed often differ widely.


The project was to develop, perfect and test a range of solutions for dust collection in conjunction with masonry businesses and manufacturers of dust collection equipment. The experience gained during the project was to be reflected in a guide to technical dust protection measures in stonemason's businesses.


The experience and knowledge gained through the project enables the BGs' technical inspectorate services to provide their member companies with more specific and comprehensive advice. In some cases, application-specific studies into further potential improvements have been performed on equipment for exhaust (collection) and filtration, for example by the BG for the construction industry in Hannover.

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Financed by:
  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Bau-Berufsgenossenschaften
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Bau-Berufsgenossenschaft Frankfurt am Main
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitssicherheit - BIA


Type of hazard:

Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren, Gefahrstoffe


Grenzwert, Gesundheitliche Beeinträchtigungen und Störungen, Schutzmaßnahme

Description, key words:

fine quartz dust concentrations, stonemasons' businesses, stonemasonry, hand-held grinding machines, chipping hammers, measures for dust protection, dust collection