Reduce The Risk: Choosing and Implementing Control Measures for Silica Dust
Typical construction activities that generate respirable crystalline silica or silica dust include cutting, blasting, drilling, chipping, and grinding. Inhaling silica dust can cause serious health issues. Once trapped in the lungs, silica causes inflammation and scarring of lung tissues, and in severe cases, this condition is fatal and can cause permanent lung damage. Chronic silicosis can occur in people who have had exposure to crystalline silica for more than ten years. However, chronic silicosis can also occur sooner upon heavy exposure. Silicosis develops slowly in the workplace hence the need to control it and keep your workers safe and healthy. Fortunately, implementing BossTek dust control solutions can help you reduce the effects of silica dust on your workers.
Here are some of the control measures you can choose for your workplace.
Substituting silica dust
You can choose to substitute materials that don’t produce silica to help lower the risk of employees getting exposed to silica dust. Substitution largely depends on the nature of the project you are undertaking. Sometimes substitution might not be practical since silica is a naturally occurring substance, and you might not be able to make the service or product without it. You can use a product that does not contain silica or has less silica whenever possible. While using silica products, you can use those that do not need to be cut or polished. Also, consider using a paste or liquid form of silica.
Eliminating silica dust
Another option is eliminating silica dust from your workplace, but that can be very impractical since silica is naturally occurring. However, you can adopt a production process at the workplace to generate less silica dust, like adopting a wet method that helps produce less dust. You can also implement more effective dust suppression methods from the point of generation and treat the dust while on its transmission path with dust suppression techniques. These techniques include chemical additives, water sprays, and local exhaust ventilation.
Isolate your works from the silica dust
Isolation is one of the most effective ways to protect your workers from silica dust. Having physical barriers that protect your workers completely from the dust is more effective than any isolation control. Isolation at the workplace involved isolating high dust-generating processes in an enclosed room with restricted access. You can also provide a physical barrier with exclusion zones for the different workstations for your workers. You can have a water mist when moving from one work area to another. It is also important to have designated areas for changing and eating to ensure that the dust is not transferred from one work area to another.
Implementing engineering controls
Engineering controls use physical methods to change the nature of the task. Therefore, the ideal engineering control depends on the task being carried out. Some of the engineering controls that you can implement include cutting methods, fitting your large machinery such as excavators and bulldozers with a positive pressure enclosed cab, and installing local exhaust ventilation at your workplace. When installing engineering controls, it is essential to consider other hazards introduced to your workplace.
Different construction projects require different kinds of silica dust control measures. Before you settle for any, start by doing your resarch or get a professional opinion from reputable distributors.