1. Contain dust in the work area. Use plastic or other dust containment systems to keep dust away from occupants and the rest of your customer's home.
2. Minimize the creation of dust and debris. Use dust-safe work practices that do not create unnecessary dust. Examples of good dust work practices include wetting surfaces before removal or prepping for paint and minimize dry sweeping.
3. Work in such a way that you clean as you go. Do not allow the accumulation of debris. For example, if you're cutting trim at a table, excess small pieces should go directly into a wood scrap bin that's close to your work station. If the pieces are long enough to keep, sort, organize, and keep them neatly near the work station. If it's something you won't recycle at all put it directly into nearby trash bin with a trash liner in it.
4. Set up work areas so that things are sorted, straightened and systematized. A neat job site is not only safe, but productive and profitable.
5. Store extra trash can liners at the bottom of the trash bin. An easy management practice and one that will ensure liners are readily available for debris.
6. Use tack pads. They're sticky on one side and come in tear away sheets. Put them in the entry to the work area so that when workers go in and out, the dust on their feet sticks to the pad.
7. Have pre-moistened towels available in the work area. These will keep workers' hands and tools clean through out the day. Dirty hands spread dust just like they spread germs.
8. Make sure all vacuum cleaners are equipped with a HEPA-rated filters. Vacuuming alone is not enough. Although more expensive, a true HEPA vacuum is better. It's a sealed system where the only exhaust comes through a HEPA filter.
9. Invest in an air scrubber you can set inside your work area. When the air is pulled through the unit, about the size of a compressor, the intake filter captures the dust then circulates clean air back into the room. Air scrubbers (especially those equipped with HEPA filters) are superior then setting up a negative air pressure system which could be blow potential contaminants outside the work area or on a neighboring property.
10. Use sweeping compounds. If you're doing a lot of demolition or creating a lot of dust, put down a sweeping compound, a product you put on floor that captures dust that settles on it and makes clean up easier. Be sure that workers wear ANSI N100 dust masks in these conditions.
Brindley Byrd, CGR, CAPS, is president of Qx2 Inc., a consulting and training company for the construction industry that focuses on helping companies manage particulate hazards present on job sites and work clean. Contact him at BByrd@QX2.net. To read more visit his blog at www.remodelingdust.blogspot.com.