One unexpected safety hazard on almost any job site is the presence of silica dust. Without the proper precautions and safety measures, silica dust can harm your workers and interfere with their tools. Here are some tips for how to manage and control silica dust and protect your workers from exposure to it.
What Is It?
Quartz is a common mineral. However, when it is ground-up, it produces silica dust. Sand, brick, mortar, clay, concrete, gravel, and glass all contain some amount of quartz. That’s part of why it’s so dangerous – it’s basically everywhere. Without the right personal protective equipment, your workers and visitors could be at risk.
Why Is It Hazardous?
Silica dust causes silicosis. This condition is a lung disease that can cause serious illness or even death. That’s because the particles of dust can tear apart the lungs. However, unlike other health conditions, silicosis might not manifest right away. Signs could start showing a few weeks or months after exposure, or it could be years or even decades until the full effects are felt.
What Are Exposure Conditions?
Grinding, drilling, or cutting through concrete can cause silica dust to erupt. Cutting through stone and masonry also presents this same hazard. Even if you can’t see the dust, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. That’s a huge reason why your workers need to have all the protective equipment they can get while working on concrete.
Protecting Your Workers
One way to protect your workers is to use wet cutting. Wet cutting dramatically reduces the amount of dust that is ejected into the air. This method is especially useful when high-powered concrete saws are needed.
Another way to protect your worker is to use dust collection systems. Through this technique, you don’t need to use wet cutting methods. If you are grinding concrete or sanding it down, this is even better. The vacuum captures all of the dust, leaving the user unaffected.
Getting rid of debris and cleaning up the worksite is yet another way to protect all of the people nearby. Issue workers with aprons and coveralls to keep dust from getting on their work clothes. Lastly, stay upwind of wherever the dust is coming from; this last tip could be hard to follow because of the winter winds that blow from one day to the next.
Prioritize Employee Safety with G&M Services
G&M Services is proud of our employees and the dedication they have for safety in the workplace. We reward our employees for displaying positive safety practices. We incorporate weekly and monthly discussions and meeting to ensure that all involved are aware of how to handle equipment and potential situations that could occur during a project.
G&M Services offers services in the way of concrete drilling and sawing, concrete scanning, and FireStop. To get started with us, call today at 410-787-8828 or visit our contact page. Follow the official company page today on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.