Toolbox talk dust, emissions and odours pollution

07 Jun 2020 - Flaaim

Dust, emissions and odours arising from a site will annoy neighbours and can even cause health risks at very high concentrations. They are particularly hazardous to site staff in confined spaces, so seek information on controls from the Company Health and Safety Manager.


Dust is generally considered to be any airborne solid matter up to about 2mm in size. Particle sizes vary considerably, depending on their origin, and the smallest particles can be breathed in. Dust can affect peoples health by causing eye irritation and asthma can be exacerbated by exposure to respirable dust. Dust blown onto watercourses can damage the ecology and surrounding plant life. As it is difficult to suppress dust once it is airborne, it is essential to stop dust being generated:

  1. Damp down traffic routes.
  2. Impose a strict speed limit on site.
  3. Wheel wash all vehicles leaving site.
  4. Use enclosed chutes for dropping materials to ground level.
  5. Minimise cutting and grinding on site or use wet cutting techniques and dust extraction.
  6. Locate stock piles out of the wind.
  7. Ensure all dust-generating materials are transported to and from site under tarpaulins.
  8. Erect dust screens.


Processes involving the use of fuels and the heating and drying of materials commonly emit fumes, odours or smoke. It is important to prevent emissions and odours as far as possible, to protect workers and because they annoy the public and affect the environment. Preventative measures should be taken to avoid emitting smoke and odours:

  1. Switch off engines when not in use.
  2. Ensure all vehicles comply with MOT emissions.
  3. Keep all plant and equipment well maintained.
  4. Use covered containers for organic waste and remove frequently.
  5. Do not burn waste on site
  6. Store all chemicals and other dangerous substances in the appropriate manner.
  7. Take into account the wind conditions when planning activities.
  8. Keep refuelling areas away from the public.
  9. Site toilets away from public areas.

Download the toolbox talk

Manual Handling Training Sheet
Using a Guillotine Safe Work Procedure
Using a Forklift Safe Work Procedure
Construction Company First Aid Box Checklist Form