Silica is a natural mineral that can be found in a wide range of building materials. RCS dust is made when materials that contain silica are cut, ground, drilled, polished, or moved in any other way. Silicosis is a disease that gets worse over time and eventually kills people. It is caused by breathing in silica dust and is one of the most dangerous hazards for workers. Crystalline silica dust can be dangerous for workers, and the industry can improve how it handles these concerns. Construction processes including sawing, grinding, drilling, and crushing produces respirable dust into the air, creating a silica hazard. Why does this matter?
Why is Silica Dust Dangerous?
Silicosis is brought on by breathing in silica dust that is too small to see with the naked eye. This lung condition is caused by breathing in silica dust. It occurs when microscopic particles penetrate deep into the lungs, making it unable to expel them through coughing and breathing out alone. It takes weeks to acquire symptoms of silicosis, but it can also take decades. Without proper BossTek dust control measures, silica dust can also raise the likelihood of developing lung disorders like bronchitis, lung cancer, and tuberculosis. Silicosis sufferers may eventually require respiratory assistance devices or oxygen therapy.
How Much Silica Dust Is Too Much?
Since you can’t cough or breathe the dustout, even a small amount of exposure can be dangerous. Because of how dangerous it is, OSHA mandates that businesses provide safety equipment to employees. Over the past few years, OSHA has tightened regulations for construction workers and other industries. The new rule requires medical monitoring for workers at high risk of exposure, sets an exposure limit, requires the use of engineering controls (like water or vacuums), and helps employers protect workers from exposure.
Some Preventative Steps for RCS
Ventilation booths, wet cutting, fans, vacuum dust collection systems, and respiratory gear prevent dust from becoming airborne. Using any of these methods can reduce workers’ exposure to silica dust and make the workplace safer.
Wet cutting is an efficient means of preventing dust from becoming airborne while sawing. Many stationary saws have a water basin or can be fitted with a spray attachment that can be used while the saw is running.
Vacuum Dust Collection Systems
Vacuum dust collection is a great alternative to wet cutting. It is also often used with grinders and sanders, which work best on dry surfaces. Attaching systems to the front or back of the tool is possible. Dust generated by the tool’s use is sucked up by the suction and contained in a bag or other suitable receptacle.
When other tools are unavailable or when only a little amount of work needs to be done in a specific location, ventilation booths may be employed. Dust is kept away from the work area by putting up a small cage around it and putting a huge exhaust fan against the back wall.
When working in dusty environments, or doing work that creates a lot of dust, it’s important to wear a mask to protect your lungs. It’s normal practice for certain workers to wear face masks while others don’t, as different tasks present different levels of danger.
On construction and demolition sites, silica dust can be cut down on by using ventilation booths, wet cutting, respiratory protection, vacuum dust collectors, and other things.