Hand-held Stone Polisher, with Wet Dust Suppression

A hand-held stone polisher with wet dust suppression delivers water to the work surface to reduce airborne dust while polishing.

Description:

Polishing stone and concrete creates fine dust that workers can inhale.  Concrete and many common stones, such as granite, are composed primarily of crystalline silica, which if inhaled can cause lung disease and cancer.  Using water to suppress the dust may be easier than using local exhaust ventilation in some circumstances, and is an important dust control option to consider.

Wet methods can extend tool life, improve visibility, and reduce dust exposure.  These particular brands and models of polishers, however, have not been evaluated to determine the amount of dust generated, or the effectiveness of the water dust suppression systems.

Makita PW 5001C 4-inch electronic wet stone polisher

  • Used for polishing marble, granite, limestone and other stone materials
  • Cost: ~$260 (verified 2/2011)
  • Power requirements: 120 volts, 7.9 amps
  • Maximum polishing disc diameter: 4 inches (10.2 centimeters)
  • Blade speed: 2,000 to 4,000 RPM
  • Weight: 4.6 pounds (2.1 kilograms)


MK Diamond Products, Inc. MK-1503-Air pneumatic polisher with wet dust suppression

  • Used for grinding and polishing gemstones, rock materials, marble and granite
  • Cost: $359 (verified 2/2011)
  • Compressed air supply requirements: 16 cubic feet per minute at 90 pounds per square inch
  • Polishing disc diameter: 3, 4 or 5 inches
  • Blade speed (no load): 5,500 RPM
  • Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Sound level: 92.3 to 104.9 decibels (OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limit for an 8-hour time-weighted average is 90 dBA)
 
MK Diamond Products, Inc. MK-1503-S electric polisher with wet dust suppression
  • Used for grinding and polishing gemstones, rock materials, marble and granite
  • Cost: $375 (verified 2/2011)
  • Power requirements: 120 volts, 7.9 amps
  • Polishing disc diameter: 3, 4 or 5 inches
  • Blade speed: 2,000 to 4,000 RPM
  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Sound pressure level: Not available but likely to exceed 90 dBA (OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limit for an 8-hour time-weighted average)

Alpha Professional Tools AIR-658 pneumatic polisher with wet dust suppression

  • Used for polishing granite and marble
  • Cost: $299 (verified 2/2011)
  • Compressed air supply requirements: 15 cubic feet per minute at 87 pounds per square inch (0.42 cubic meters per minute at 599.8 kilopascals)
  • Polishing disc diameter: 3, 4 or 5 inches (7.6, 10.2 or 12.7 centimeters)
  • Blade speed (no load): 3,500 RPM
  • Water use: up to 0.5 gallons per minute (1.9 liters per minute)
  • Weight: 2.64 pounds (1.2 kilograms)
  • Sound level (with silencer and 87 psi air): 80 decibels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Alpha Professional Tools AWP-158/AWP-214 electric polisher with wet dust suppression

  • Used for polishing granite and marble
  • Cost: $240 to $267 (verified 2/2011)
  • Power requirements: 120 volts, 7.8 amps or 220 volts, 3.8 amps
  • Polishing disc diameter: 3, 4 or 5 inches (7.6, 10.2 or 12.7 centimeters)
  • Blade speed (no load): 3,000 RPM
  • Weight: 6 pounds (2.7 kilograms)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Intertool DS 175 7-inch planetary polisher with wet dust suppression

  • Used to grind, hone, polisher or clean steps, counter tops, floor edges, under toe kicks or other small areas
  • Cost: $850 to $1,200 (verified 11/2009)
  • Polisher can be driven by any 5/8-11 (or 14-2 mm) tool
  • Power requirements: depend on drive tool
  • Polishing diameter: 7 inches, achieved with three 3-inch planetary discs
  • Maximum disc speed (provided by drive tool): 5,000 RPM
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Alternative dust control methods: port is provided for use with a vacuum
  • Sound pressure level: Not available but likely to exceed 90 dBA (OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limit for an 8-hour time-weighted average)
 
Intertool DS 175 with three 3-inch planetary discs
 
 
Intertool DS 301 12-inch planetary polisher with wet dust suppression
  • Used to grind, hone, polish or clean concrete, terrazzo, marble or granite surfaces using coated abrasives, diamond polishing systems, light weight diamond wheels or brushes
  • Cost: $1,999 to $2,300 (verified 11/2009)
  • Power requirements: 115 volts, 10.5 amps (220 volt model is available
  • Polishing diameter: 12 inches, achieved with three 5-inch  planetary discs
  • Disc speed: 2,700 RPM (variable speed option available upon request)
  • Weight: 30 pounds
  • Alternative dust control methods: dust cowl is available for use with a vacuum
  • Sound pressure level: Not available but likely to exceed 90 dBA (OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limit for an 8-hour time-weighted average)
 
Intertool DS 301 with three 5-inch planetary discs
 

Risks Addressed:

Polishing stone containing crystalline silica such as granite is a high dust activity that in the absence of controls would place workers at risk of lung disease and cancer.  Such disease is well documented in the Vermont granite quarries and stone cutting sheds, and in construction operations. 

Polishing stone containing crystalline silica can generate high levels of silica dust that may cause silicosis or lung scarring with prolonged exposure.  Silicosis is an incurable, sometimes fatal disease.  The NIOSH-recommended exposure limit is 0.05 mg/m3 as a time-weighted average concentration for up to a 10-hour workday during a 40-hour workweek.  Silica has also been associated with lung cancer.


How Risks are Reduced:

Water is delivered to the polishing pad and wets dust created by abrasive polishing of stone.  Silica in the stone is only hazardous if it is inhaled and is not hazardous for skin contact.  As long as the dust does not become airborne, the hazard is reduced.  The extent to which this is effective in meeting recommended exposure limits has not been evaluated.

Using water will visibly suppress dust, but the extent that it reduces the small respirable particles is unclear, without testing.  Although exposure is not reduced to zero, substantial reduction is expected.  This is dependent on the amount of water used, how effectively it prevents suspension of particles in the air, rotational speed of the polisher, and the extent to which workers are exposed to resuspended dust after it dries.  There is no published sampling data on these tools or this type of tool during field use.

The Alpha Professional Tools AIR-658 pneumatic polisher manual states that “The tool is used with water to help you get the best possible finish, to reduce the health risks of dust, and to give the most savings in time and money from modern accessories.


Effects on Productivity:

Using wet dust suppression with hand-held stone polishers is expected to improve productivity by increasing visibility, reducing work site cleanup, reducing worker cleanup, and increasing the useful life of the polishing pads which reduces costs and time spent changing pads. 

Suppressing airborne dust avoids exposing other workers, members of the public, adjacent property and cars, reducing liability and time-consuming disputes.  Reducing dust also improves worker comfort, which may result in less fatigue and greater productivity.  In some cases, particularly where tool use is intermittent, wet dust suppression may be adequate to reduce the need to wear a respirator and the need for an employer respiratory protection program.


Additional Considerations:

The use of water as a dust control increases the risk of shock when electricity is used in the same area.  Electrical cords and extensions must be rated for the tool's power requirements, be regularly inspected, and used in combination with ground fault interrupt circuits.

The use of gasoline-powered generators and compressors poses the risk of carbon monoxide exposure, particularly in areas where airflow is reduced.  Steps to control exposure are important because the gas is invisible, odorless and tasteless.  Small, inexpensive personal monitors can be worn by the operator to warn of unacceptable exposures.

Stone polishers may generate sound levels that are greater than 90 decibels, the OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL), and hazardous. Hearing protection should be worn when using stone polishers unless an industrial hygienist has conducted noise monitoring and indicated that hearing protection is not required.

As is the case with any construction equipment, users should follow manufacturer safety recommendations and comply with any applicable local, state or federal regulations.


Hazards Addressed:

Availability

Intertool DS 175 7-inch and DS 301 12-inch planetary polisher with wet dust suppression
To obtain information, visit http://inter-tool.com or contact 1-800-926-9244 mm@leitchco.com

Makita PW5001C
To obtain information, visit http://www.makitatools.com or contact 1-714-522-8088

Alpha Professional Tools AIR-658, AWP-158 and AWP 214 polisher with wet dust suppression
To obtain information, visit http://www.alpha-tools.com or contact 1-800-648-7229 info@alpha-tools.com

MK Diamond Products, Inc. MK-1503 and MK-1503-S Air polisher with wet dust suppression
To obtain information, visit http://www.mkdiamond.com or contact 1-800-421-5830 CustomerService@MKDiamond.com

Return on Investment

To calculate the return on investment (ROI) for your specific application, please visit our Return on Investment Calculator. While a specific ROI example has not been developed for this particular solution, the ROI Calculator provides a useful tool and guidance on how to generate your own on investment analysis.