Working with ballast creates a lot of dust that has serious potential health risks. Ballast itself contains a high proportion of silica, as does the dust that emanates from it. Small respirable particles reach deep into the lungs, and can do great harm, even in tiny amounts. Illnesses, such as silicosis and lung cancer typically emerge some time after exposure and seriously affect the sufferer's quality of life and can lead, ultimately, to death.
Even though usually worked with on open-air sites, ballast dust is dangerous to ignore. Usually, the best method of control requires a spray of fine water particles to keep it suppressed.
Find out more about the risks, and methods of controlling them, by downloading the full whitepaper here.
The HSE estimates that around 600 deaths per year are directly due to exposure to RCS (respirable crystalline silica) particles, such as those found in ballast dust.