Info About Silica Dust and Silica Exposure Mitigation
Silica is one of the most common substances found on the planet. It’s a major component of cement, asphalt, bricks and ceramic tile, as well as the main ingredient in glass. It’s an important component that’s highly useful in many industrial applications. As useful as it is, silica dust is the world’s oldest occupational hazard. This makes it important for both employers and employees in affected industries to learn everything there is to know about silica dust and silica exposure mitigation.
Millions of workers in thousands of industries are at an increased risk of silica exposure. The most vulnerable employees are the ones that work in the following industries:
- Tile and manufacturing
- Pottery, concrete and brick manufacturing
- Mining operations
- Maritime and shipyard operations
- Industries that use abrasive sandblasting
Dangers of Silica Dust Exposure
If you’re involved in any of the above industries, knowing about silica dust and silica exposure mitigation is essential because there’s great danger in not being prepared. One of the looming dangers of silica dust exposure is an increased risk of silicosis, which is not only one of the oldest known pulmonary diseases, but it’s also an incurable, disabling and deadly lung disease. There are basically three types of silicosis, which are:
- Chronic silicosis – This is the commonest form of silicosis, and it usually develops after ten or more years of exposure to reduced levels of silica dust.
- Accelerated silicosis – It occurs within 5-10 years of exposure to higher levels of silica.
- Acute silicosis – It occurs within months or even weeks of exposure to very high levels of silica.
Besides silicosis, there are other serious health conditions that are caused by silica dust exposure, including kidney disease and lung cancer. This makes it very important for the affected industries to adopt silica mitigation exposure strategies to guarantee their workers’ safety.
Best Silica Exposure Mitigation Methods
Employers in affected industries are required by law to adopt silica exposure mitigation methods to safeguard the health of their workers. One of the most effective methods is installation of ventilation systems in confined spaces. This greatly helps to prevent the circulation of hazardous silica dust in the air and improves the flow and quality of air. This leaves the working environment safe and significantly reduces the risk of health conditions associated with silica exposure.
Besides ventilation systems, there are different tools that can help with silica dust suppression and collection. They can also be utilized as part of silica exposure mitigation in affected industries.
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