Exposure to fine particles of silica has been shown to cause silicosis, a serious and sometimes fatal lung disease. Employees who inhale fine particles of silica may be at risk of developing silicosis. Employees create silica dusts when they grind, cut, drill, or crush materials such as rock, masonry, tile and concrete. The small particles easily become suspended in the air and, when inhaled, penetrate deep into employees’ lungs.
What can employers/employees do to protect against exposures to crystalline silica?
- Replace crystalline silica materials with safer materials, whenever possible. Provide administrative or engineering controls, where feasible, such as local exhaust ventilation, and blasting cabinets.
- Reduce exposures below the permissible exposure limit, using protective equipment or other protective measures.
- Use any and all available work practices to control dust, that could even come from daily work activities such as water sprays.
- Wear only certified respirators, when respirator protection is required. Never under any circumstances should the respirator be altered. When wearing a tight fitting respirator do not have a beard or mustache, it will ruin the seal between the respirator and the face.
- When doing abrasive blasting activities use an abrasive blasting supplied air respirator.
- Wear disposable or washable work clothes and shower if facilities are available. Vacuum the dust from your clothes or change into clean clothing before leaving the work site.
- Provide and participate in training, exposure monitoring, surveillance programs and health screening and to monitor any adverse health effects caused by crystalline silica exposures.
- Protect your employees by instilling the proper operations and job tasks when creating crystalline silica dust in the workplace.
- Always be aware of the health hazards related to exposures to crystalline silica. Smoking only adds to the lung damage caused by silica exposures.
- Never eat, drink, smoke, or apply cosmetics in areas where crystalline silica dust is present.
- It is imperative to always wash your hands and face outside of dusty areas before performing any of these activities.
How can AMI Environmental protect employees and the reputation of business?
At AMI Environmental, our main goal is to assist businesses and create a safe working environment, while adhering to government regulations. With decades of experience, our Industrial Hygiene Professionals work to help our clients not only protects your workers but also manage risk. Allowing you to then enjoy the peace of mind knowing your employees will be protected from harm. AMI will work to establish and maintain a safe work environment, including surveying your facility for risks; provide testing within your facility; maintain testing protocol; and assist in the recording process. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Dan Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.