Workers that are exposed to silica dust in the workplace are at risk of developing short and long-term silica-related health conditions. Employers should take steps to protect their employees from silica exposure. Below, we take a closer look at what Silica is and how you can protect your workers from it.
What is Silica?
Crystalline silica is a common mineral that is often found in construction materials including:
The dust forms when workers cut, grind, drill, or crush these materials and tiny particles formulate. Employees who use masonry saws, grinders, drills, jackhammers, chipping tools or drilling rigs are all at risk of being exposed to silica every day. Workers that are also exposed to silica often perform functions, such as using heavy equipment for demolition, abrasive blasting, or tunneling. According to OSHA, about two million construction workers are exposed to silica on the job every day.
Health Effects of Silica
If a worker inhales these particles over an extended period, they can suffer from the following health conditions:
● Lung disease
● Lung cancer
● Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
● Kidney disease
While inhaling silica from time to time is not likely to cause any lung, heart, or kidney damage, long-term exposure can lead to many of these terminal diseases or cancers.
How to Protect Your Workers from Silica
There are several ways you can drastically reduce employee exposure to silica. Some of the most effective means include:
● Dust Extractor Vacuum
Vacuums are equipped with a HEPA filter that captures 99.97% of particles with a 150 CFM. They are lightweight and designed for use in a wide range of job applications. Extractor vacuums have large tanks that can contain and isolate the dust.
● Dust Collector
Make sure you invest in a dust collector with self-contained HEPA dust extraction systems. This ensures that the unit meets OSHA silica standards and can hold dust from up to 40 holes.
● Rotary Hammer
To get the most out of your hammer, purchase a complete rotary hammer kit that includes the HEPA dust collecting unit. The HEPA unit meets OSHA silica requirements. Attaching the Dust Collector gives you a lightweight solution for reducing silica dust.
Also, don’t forget to give your employees an appropriate respirator that can keep out the silica dust. There are several types of respirators and masks that are OSHA approved.
Personal Protective Equipment for Your Company
MC Tool & Safety offers a wide range of personal protective equipment that will keep your employees safe in all types of workplace conditions. Contact us today to purchase your OSHA-approved industrial and safety products.
To find out more about the products and services we provide, as well as safety education opportunities, call us at 888-206-2569, or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.