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If you regularly need to have a concrete surface prepared, it may be the case that you have heard of scabbling before. Scabbling is a mechanical process of removing a layer of concrete from a surface using a compressed air-powered machine called a scabbler. These use several heads with carbide tips that pound the surface of the concrete. Rotary devices that ‘flail’ the surface may also be used. 
Scabbling is common in the construction industry as it is excellent at preparing a surface for painting and coating, or for removing unwanted deposits. However, it is a risky process too, with the process producing a high amount of silica-containing dust. 
Here at Diamond Drilling UK, we are committed to the health and safety of our staff and customers. That’s why we follow the Assess, Control and Review guidelines proposed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). But what can this model be applied to scabbling in practice? Here are the steps that businesses should follow to make sure that their scabbling is safe. 
It’s important before starting scabbling to identify and access the risks that the process poses. Any person breathing in the dust cloud created by scabbling will be affected, especially those who are using or are very close to the grinder. Larger equipment or projects might require more specialised controls. 
While a lot can be done while work is taking place, it is important to think about limiting the risk before work starts, such as by specifying architectural areas that do not need scabbling, and making sure to pressure jetting the surface before it starts. 
However, even if some of the dust is minimised the risk still needs to be controlled. It is advisable to use specifically adapted equipment with on-tool extraction, making sure it is right for the work. 
Those nearby should also wear respiratory protective equipment (RPE). This should be compatible with other items of personal prospective equipment being worn. For longer duration work – powered RPE may be the best option – perhaps powered RPE should be used again. 
Once the scabbling is underway, the company should make sure that the right controls are properly used and that RPE is worn correctly. Anyone wearing a tight-fitting mask should have a face-fit test. 
Maintain and monitor 
It’s vital to make sure that any on-tool extraction systems are correctly working by checking them on a weekly basis. Dust extraction equipment should also be examined and tested thoroughly at least once every 14 months. It is worth considering having a health surveillance programme unless the amount of silica dust produced is below the recommended exposure limit. 
Contact us! 
Here at Diamond Drilling UK, we care about the health and safety of our customers while performing all of our services, especially scabbling. If you would like to learn more about our scabbling service please don’t hesitate to contact us for more details. You can rest assured that we will prepare your surface and keep you safe in the process. 
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