How to Protect Employees from Exposure to Silica

The best way to protect against Silica exposure is to keep it wet. When wet, it does not become airborne and employees to do not breathe it in. Use a saw with a built-in system that applies water to the saw blade. Something as simple as a hose can be effective. Where the wet method is not effective, mechanical ventilation may be necessary. Respirators can provide an additional level of protection. Air monitoring should be conducted when workers are exposed to Silica.

Silica, a basic component of soil, sand, granite, and many other minerals, is a lung carcinogen that becomes respirable when workers chip, cut, drill, or grind objects that contain crystalline silica. Silica dust enters the lungs and causes scar tissue to form, thus reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen. Silicosis has long been recognized as an occupational disease.

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