Sandblasting has many potential hazards to workers. Business owners can lessen potential health issues related to sandblasting when they are aware of the dangers involved, and the proper safety measures to adhere to.
Here are some factors for consideration when practising safety in sandblasting.
Protection from silica sand
Crystalline or silica sand is one of the most common materials used in sandblasting. Silica is a toxic material, and if it is not handled correctly, it can cause serious health hazards for workers. Some possible diseases caused by silica sand exposure include lung cancer, silicosis and other respiratory health issues. Labourers who handle silica products that contain quartz must use proper positive pressure or pressure demand respirators.
Limiting exposure to pollutants
Sandblasting workers must be well-trained to prevent exposure to toxic silica. All employees must receive proper preparation before operating bead blasting guns and other sandblasting equipment. They must also be equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) to limit being exposed to harsh fumes and particles. Inhaling sand particles may result in serious health issues that either occur immediately or years down the line.
Silica can also be absorbed through the skin. As such, protective clothing such as helmets and leather gloves help in minimising skin contact with sandblasting particles. The right amount of ventilation is also a key component in sandblasting safety. Business owners must ensure that sandblasting is carried out in open spaces with ample ventilation. If sandblasting is to be done indoors, exhaust ventilation systems must be installed correctly in the work area to capture dust and prevent it from floating freely in the air.
When the work is done
Employees must observe thorough clean-up methods to prevent any further exposure. It is imperative to include clean-up as part of the work process, to lessen the occurrences of silica exposure.
Business owners must ensure that their work areas are safe. Knowing the right safety measures and putting them in place will benefit your employees and your business. If any workers come in contact with silica or other sandblasting materials, they must seek immediate medical attention.