The question I commonly hear is:

Do I need to wear a respirator while cutting concrete wet? What, if so, what type?

To simple answer is, yes.

If wet concrete cutting is done correctly, you should not need a respirator. However, what happens is that in the field, many variables occur. ((Engineering Controls)) Sometimes the water will be directed at the top of the blade (for cooling, not for dust control). The water must be directed at the cutting site on the blade in order to control dust.

Another variable is ((Administrative Controls)) clean up. Do the workers clean up the wet slurry? Or, do they wait till it’s dry and then use a leaf blower?  Do they vacuum the slurry? What happens when the job is done and the vacuum is in the shop? Does the employee wet it down, or blow it off?

Also, what happens when your worker is cutting wet and the water stops? Does he continue? What about if he get to a curb? Do they get the Stihl hot saw and cut wet? What if they don’t have water for that saw?

So, technically, if done correctly, a respirator should not be needed. However, if you don’t have the protocols, air monitoring data, and management controls in place to do it correctly, get a respirator.

Which respirator, you ask? Minimum would be a tight fitting negative pressure half face with HEPA filters. If they are knowingly performing concrete cutting dry – then it needs to be a full face respirator.