Dust Collection: What Are Sweeping Compounds and How Do They Work?
When you're working on cleaning up the job site, OSHA's new dust collector regulations can make that process more complicated than before. Simply sweeping the floor may not get all the fine dust and dirt off of it, while using an air compressor will simply blow it around more. The regulations mean you now need to be cautious to avoid adding more respirable silica to the air, which can make the problem even worse. Fortunately, most sweeping compounds give you additional options without adding more respirable silica to your job site. However, you do need to be careful to check the ingredients for sand or silica on the products you're considering. Here's a quick rundown of what these compounds are, how they work and which ones work best in which situations.
Sweeping compounds are a tacky, powdery material that can be scattered over the area to be cleaned and then swept up again to remove dust and waste that has remained on the floor of your job site. They are typically either water soluble or oil based, depending on the material you're cleaning up and the type of flooring it's being applied to.
They come in two colors, red and green, to make it easy to differentiate between the two formulations when time is of the essence. Some compounds are available in lighter tones to make it easier to tell when they've effectively cleaned up the dust and dirt, while darker tones can have more of the absorbent compound in them to get the job done much more quickly. Here's a closer look at each formula:
Typically green in color, water-soluble formulas incorporate wax to pick up small particles. It can be somewhat damp to better pick up dry materials without spreading more dust around the area. It's typically applied to fine floor finishes, to prevent staining. These include marble, terrazzo, tiles, vinyl and coated concrete, which makes it handy for quick clean-ups on renovations in existing structures. One of the other areas where it is very helpful in construction is cleaning subflooring prior to adding adhesive in preparation for a final floor installation. It can use thin liquid waxes, glycerine or paraffin as the binding agent.
Usually red toned, oil-based formulas use a type of oil to pick up small particles. This can include mineral spirits, mineral seal oil, petroleum-based oils and similar compounds. It works well on concrete surfaces, metal floors and unfinished wood floors. It is also available in sanded versions as well as un-sanded, which means you may want to double check the sand or silica content to ensure it doesn't actually bring more silica into the environment. The sanded version can work well on heavy grime, but be aware that it does this by acting in an abrasive manner, which can cause significant damage to surfaces if you're not careful with it.
By using sweeping compounds, you can quickly clean up your job site without causing additional issues with respirable silica. If you're not sure which formulation will work best for your purposes, we can help you find the right solution for your job site. Please feel free to contact the experienced professionals at Star Sales today with any questions, for more details on the sweeping compounds we carry or to get a quote.