Effective dust control systems on concrete dowel drilling machinery

Alan S. Echt, Wayne T. Sanderson, Kenneth R. Mead, H. Amy Feng, Daniel R. Farwick, Dawn Ramsey Farwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Rotary-type percussion dowel drilling machines, which drill horizontal holes in concrete pavement, have been documented to produce respirable crystalline silica concentrations above recommended exposure criteria. This places operators at potential risk for developing health effects from exposure. United States manufacturers of these machines offer optional dust control systems. The effectiveness of the dust control systems to reduce respirable dust concentrations on two types of drilling machines was evaluated under controlled conditions with the machines operating inside large tent structures in an effort to eliminate secondary exposure sources not related to the dowel-drilling operation. Area air samples were collected at breathing zone height at three locations around each machine. Through equal numbers of sampling rounds with the control systems randomly selected to be on or off, the control systems were found to significantly reduce respirable dust concentrations from a geometric mean of 54 mg per cubic meter to 3.0 mg per cubic meter on one machine and 57 mg per cubic meter to 5.3 mg per cubic meter on the other machine. This research shows that the dust control systems can dramatically reduce respirable dust concentrations by over 90% under controlled conditions. However, these systems need to be evaluated under actual work conditions to determine their effectiveness in reducing worker exposures to crystalline silica below hazardous levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)718-724
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Bibliographical note

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  • Concrete dowel drilling
  • crystalline silica
  • dust control systems
  • respirable dust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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