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Supporting Your Silica Dust Exposure Control Plan | Tennant

Silica dust exposure poses a health risk to employees, but in many work environments, it’s notoriously difficult to control. Let’s take a look at some key facts about silica dust and the latest methods businesses are adopting to help with their dust control plans. 

What Is Silica Dust and Why Is It a Problem?

Respirable Silica Dust is created by cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling, and crushing silica producing materials. It’s mainly found in brickwork, sand, and concrete manufacturing industries.1 In particular, challenging environments like mine sites, wharves, and heavy vehicle workshops struggle with silica dust. 

Silica dust is tiny – at least 100 times smaller than sand.2  Because it is so small, it can remain airborne for a long time or get carried in the wind. It’s also very easy to breathe in – you probably wouldn’t even notice. In 2011, about 587,000 Australian were exposed to silica dust whilst working, and an estimated 5,728 of these workers will develop lung cancer over the course of their life.3

The Need for Solutions

As increasingly stringent protocols are implemented by states across Australia to keep businesses safe and minimise environmental impact, demand for equipment solutions that help tick all the boxes has never been higher.4

Businesses where employees are exposed to silica dust are required to develop a comprehensive silica dust exposure control plan, customised to their unique environment. 

So, aside from mandating PPE like a minimum P2 efficiency respirator mask, what can workplaces do to maintain a safe work environment and help meet safety regulations? 

As a recognised world leader in cleaning equipment solutions, with an extensive line-up of heavy industry sweeping and scrubbing machinery, Tennant delivers on durable equipment that can help meet Workplace Health & Safety, while also boosting productivity. We’ve engineered features and technology designed to help you control fine dust, improve housekeeping practices, and work towards WHS compliance.


Tennant offers three types of dust control methods that can be used to support WHS silica control housekeeping requirements: 

1. Dry Sweeping with True HEPA Filtration Protection 
Many of our larger rider sweepers come standard with a unique combination of our exclusive built-in dust control features like the SweepMax® Plus cyclonic air filtration system. Dry sweeping with an additional final-stage HEPA filtration system is an alternate method in applications where other methods, such as wet sweeping or HEPA vacuums, are not feasible.

Support your dry sweeping dust exposure control plan and work towards WHS compliance by choosing equipment with true HEPA filtration systems. Supplier tested and certified, Tennant’s High Efficiency Particulate Air Filters meet strict industry standards, trapping particles as small as 0.3 microns and delivering at least 99.97% efficiency.

For additional operator protection, HEPA-pressurised cabs fitted with a Magnehelic pressure gauge are available on select models, along with external dual brush dust suppression skirts. 

2. Wet Sweeping
Wet sweeping is effective in most applications. Several Tennant Rider Sweepers can be used for wet sweeping. Providing a continual water spray provides a shield of moisture on side brushes so that silica dust is kept moist until it is swept up and contained within the hopper. This method is also included in SafeWork Australia’s housekeeping policies for silica dust control.4

3. Water Flooding
In some applications, another effective way to help control and manage silica dust is water flooding. A range of Tennant scrubbers, including walk-behind and ride-on machines, can be used for water flooding. Operators can increase scrubber water flow to the floor, which helps to stop dust from becoming airborne. 


Ready to better control silica dust at your site? Tennant’s solutions can help you achieve three key outcomes:

  • Maintain Air Quality – Work to manage silica dust and mitigate respirable dust
  • Help Maintain WHS Compliance – Support your customised silica dust control plan and work toward WHS compliance
  • Create Healthy Environments – Promote safe, healthy, and productive work environments
Footnotes & Sources

Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With a vision to become a global leader in sustainable cleaning innovation that empowers our customers to create a cleaner, safer and healthier world, Tennant creates solutions that are changing the way the world cleans. Tennant products include equipment used to maintain indoor and outdoor surfaces, as well as TennantTrue® financing solutions, equipment parts, service, and maintenance to help ensure superior cleaning performance from your Tennant machines.

To keep updated with Tennant Australia’s products and developments:
CALL: 1800 226 843
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