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Dry sweeping

Dry sweeping should only be used as a cleaning method when other options are not reasonably practicable. Sweeping with brooms and other tools can make respirable crystalline silica dust airborne.

If it is not reasonably practicable to substitute dry sweeping with safer methods, the following exposure controls are needed in accordance with Appendix 4 of the Managing respirable crystalline silica in construction and manufacturing of construction elements code of practice 2022 (PDF, 1.71 MB).

Step 1: Use suitable engineering controls

Engineering control options:

  • Isolate the work area.

Details of control – isolate the work area

  • Usephysical or temporary barriers, such as temporary walls or sheeting, to stop contaminated air spreading.
  • Barriers that do not prevent dust drift should only be used where there is natural ventilation (i.e. outdoors) and dust release is controlled.
  • Enclose equipment that generates respirable crystalline silica dust.
  • Provide workers with a separate break room or area away from tasks that create respirable crystalline silica dust.
  • Work outside (follow manufacturer’s instructions and ensure respirable crystalline silica dust does not travel in the direction of other workers or other premises).

The size of the isolated area should be determined by a competent person after assessing the risk to all unprotected people. The prevailing conditions should be taken into account.

Step 2: Select appropriate respiratory protective equipment (RPE)

The type of RPE you will need depends on:

  • what type of engineering controls you are using
  • how long the worker is going to do the task during the shift
  • where the work is being undertaken.

RPE is required for the dry sweeping tasks.

Engineering control used Time spent doing task during shift
Equal or less than 4 hours Greater than 4 hours
Isolate the area (Option 1) Outdoors
P1 or P2 filtered RPE with a MPF 10 required
P1 or P2 filtered RPE with a MPF 10 required
Indoors / enclosed area
P1 or P2 filtered RPE with a MPF 10 required
Indoors / enclosed area
P1 or P2 filtered RPE with a MPF 10 required

For tight fitting RPE, workers must be fit-tested to the specific make and model before using it. See section 7.6 of the Code (PDF, 1.71 MB) for more information on fit-testing and other requirements for using RPE.

Health monitoring

A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must provide health monitoring to a worker if their tasks require them to wear RPE 30 times or more in 12 months.

Further information