Sand. Silica dust. Get it? Ok, that was lame…
Anyway, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this continues to be an area of concern. In the most recent issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, a new report finds that more should be done to reduce workers from exposure to silica dust. Researchers call for stronger regulations, increased awareness and prevention, and greater attention to early detection of silicosis and lung cancer using low-dose CT scanning.
The article on the NIH website states:
“The risk of on-the-job exposure to silica is highest in the construction industry. Exposure occurs when workers cut, grind, crush or drill silica-containing materials such as concrete, masonry, tile and rock. About 320,000 U.S. workers are exposed to silica dust in operations such as foundry work, sandblasting and brick, concrete and pottery manufacturing. Silica exposure also occurs from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in oil and gas wells.”
How can exposure be reduced? While banning certain practices or modifying existing equipment might seem like an answer, there are a few items that can be implemented relatively quickly:
1. Monitor for silica dust on employees and on the jobsite
2. Use water sprays and ventilation when working in confined structures, to lower the amount of dust
3. Have properly fitted respirators specifically designed to protect from crystalline silica
How are you protecting your employees from silica dust?
For the full story.
To monitor dust in your facility or job site.
To verify that respirators are fitted correctly.
The American Lung Association also has more about preventing silicosis.