There will likely come a time when slate paving slabs require cutting, and this is where rigorous safety procedures should be followed. It’s likely that powerful and potentially hazardous cutting equipment is in use, and there are dangers present through the small particles and dust created by the cutting procedure.
Some basic considerations for working safely with slate paving:
Prepare a work area – set up a dedicated area where cutting and shaping activities will take place. Here a proper ‘platform’ can be set up to enable the safe and effective cutting of the slate, and anyone working on the paving slabs or in the vicinity knows there’s a risk of flying particles and dust so can prepare accordingly.
Check machinery for safety – disc cutters can be dangerous if used by the novice and not checked properly for safety. Ensure any safety guards supplied are fitted properly, and check power cabling and supplies are in good condition.
Flying particles – small particles will be travelling at very high speed through the air and can cause injuries. Safety goggles to protect the eyes should be worn by not only the person doing the cutting but also others in the vicinity of the work.
Even if undertaking work with manual tools such as hammers and chisels, flying particles can still be a risk.
Dust – cutting slate with high speed cutting equipment causes hazardous dust that shouldn’t be inhaled. These respirable crystalline silica (RCS) can cause serious lung conditions.
At the very least a face mask should be worn, in periods of longer exposure to dust proper respiratory equipment should be used and dust suppression measures – usually by water – should be deployed.
Overall, ensure anyone cutting slate paving knows what they’re doing and don’t skimp on safety basics.