HydroDemolition: A Safer Alternative for Concrete Removal

February 19, 2024

It’s no secret that construction is a dangerous business. Across all metrics, construction is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous industries, due to a combination of workplace injuries, illnesses, and sometimes even deaths. 

Unfortunately, demolition safety, concrete cutting and removal, and other dangerous tasks are often done without prioritizing safety.

At Aggregate Technologies, we prioritize safety without sacrificing the quality of our work. One way we do this is by using HydroDemolition, a method of cutting through concrete via high-pressure streams of water. 

Not only is HydroDemolition precise and fast, but it also offers several safety advantages over other methods of concrete removal. Here’s why we like using HydroDemolition as a safer alternative for concrete removal.

Aggregate Technologies prioritizes safety with HydroDemolition

Reduced Exposure to Silica Dust

Silica is a common mineral found within the earth’s crust. Concrete and masonry products contain silica. When these materials are impacted, cut, or destroyed, the result is exposure to silica. 

The smallest of these silica particles is called silica dust. When inhaled, silica dust causes adverse health conditions. Silica dust exposure can lead to serious health problems such as lung cancer and silicosis, a type of pulmonary fibrosis. Silicosis causes irreversible scarring in the lungs.

You can control silica exposure in a few different ways. The first is by utilizing PPE equipment such as a respirator and coveralls. 

Isolating the work area is also important. Establishing a perimeter around the source of the dust and enclosing the work area keeps employees away and limits exposure. Likewise limiting the amount of time each employee is within the perimeter will also limit silica dust exposure.

A dust collection system can remove dust before it reaches employees. These systems commonly utilize a vacuum connected to a power tool, vacuuming up the silica dust at the source, and storing it in a bin or container until it can be safely disposed of.

These techniques are useful for reducing silica dust exposure, but the risk can be further reduced by using water to contain dust. The water from a HydroDemolition robot’s jets effectively controls silica dust at the source. When paired with the previously mentioned methods, silica dust exposure is greatly reduced.

Hydrodemolition silica dust

Prevents HAVS and VWF

HydroDemolition also prevents common problems frequently linked to power tools: HAVS and VWF, two very serious and related conditions. 

HAVS or Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome is the name for a series of symptoms caused by trauma from repetitive vibration. These symptoms are categorized as either neurological injuries, muscular injuries, or vascular injuries. 

Neurological injuries are the result of damage to nerve cells in the arms, hands, and fingers. This damage is irreversible. 

Muscular injuries are caused by damage to the worker’s muscle structure. As a result, their grip strength may be negatively affected.

Vascular injuries are injuries to the capillaries in the hand and fingers. These injuries reduce blood flow to the hand. As a result, VWF or vibration white finger may occur. As the name implies, this condition leads to a blanching or whitening of the fingertips. It may also lead to loss of strength or numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers. This can cause difficulty with fine motor skills.

General symptoms of HAVS include loss of sensitivity in the affected area, numbness, tingling, and loss of grip strength. Aside from treating these symptoms, a person with HAVS is advised to stop working with vibrating tools. 

HAVS is a health hazard to any worker who uses vibrating tools. This could include chainsaws, jackhammers, concrete breakers, and other similar tools. 

However, the risk of these repetitive stress injuries can be reduced when HydroDemolition is chosen over other concrete removal options since a HydroDemolition robot does not produce vibrations.

HydroDemolition reduce vibrations

Additional HydroDemolition Safety Perks 

There are other safety perks to HydroDemolition. 

It’s a quieter alternative to equipment such as jackhammers and rock breakers, reducing noise pollution. 

HydroDemolition robots can also be operated via remote control, ensuring that the operator remains at a safe distance. This allows them to access areas that would normally be hazardous to workers. 

When operating a HydroDemolition robot, there are no harmful emissions or gases released. 

Finally, while HydroDemolition does produce wastewater, it’s possible to treat wastewater from HydroDemolition projects. It can be filtered, purified, and pH-balanced. 

HydroDemolition is minimizes loose debris

Safe Operation of HydroDemolition Equipment 

To be clear, HydroDemolition is not without risk. HydroDemolition contractors who refuse to prioritize safety will always be a danger to themselves and others, regardless of what machinery and equipment they are using.

A HydroDemolition robot is a machine that uses high-pressure water jets. The water jet can be very dangerous and is capable of causing serious injury to humans. They are also capable of dislodging debris and propelling it, which can result in injury to humans or property damage.

However, with the proper precautions these risks can be mitigated. 

A HydroDemolition bot with a shielded water jet minimizes the chance that loose debris will be propelled while cutting concrete.

Other safety standards for operating a HydroDemolition bot are no different than what is typically required on the job site. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes eye and face protection such as safety glasses or face shields, gloves to protect hands, slip and puncture-resistant footwear, earplugs or earmuffs to prevent hearing loss, and hard hats to prevent injury from falling objects. Operators of HydroDemolition equipment should follow these guidelines and use PPE at all times. 

Of course, the most important factor in HydroDemolition safety is still the human element. No equipment should be operated without the proper training.  

Prioritizing Safety at Every Work Site

At Aggregate Technologies, we prioritize safety on every work site. Our training and experience, combined with using state-of-the-art equipment such as HydroDemolition robots, make every work site safer. 

Don’t take a risk on other HydroDemolition contractors. Our training and experiences mean we always prioritize safety, at every work site, every time. 

Ready to get started? Contact us for more information on our safe, efficient concrete removal options.

Contact us when you need a contractor with a record of safety and success for your concrete cutting and hydrodemolition needs.

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