Construction dust is a serious hazard to health. Using equipment, like saws, grinders, drills and jackhammers as well as larger construction equipment to cut, drill and crush materials like sand, stone, concrete and brick releases silica dust into the air.
To address the associated health risks the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) began enforcing new respirable crystalline silica standards over the past two years. Even seemingly small amounts of exposure compounded over the course of one’s lifetime can lead to high levels of respiratory disease including lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, eye irritation, and allergic reaction.
In fact, dust particles that do the most damage are too small to be visible to the naked eye and hang in the air long after construction is finished – sometimes as long as eight hours. And, dust does not just stay at the construction site – it can migrate to other areas affecting people, nature, and the environment. So, exposure is not limited to those who created the dust but also a problem for those around them on site.
Here are some eye-opening statistics:
· 37 pounds of dust per hour are generated when slitting bricks and installing electrical cable.
· 13 pounds of dust per hour are generated when concrete ceilings are demolished.
The New OSHA Regulations reduces the permissible exposure level (PEL) for silica in the workplace to 50 micrograms per cubic meter.
Taking the right precautions and using the right equipment can have a significant safety benefit on workers’ health. There are many ways to reduce dust exposure from workers donning appropriate personal protection equipment to extraction systems and water suppression to other activities that don’t create the dust.
Talisman Rentals is committed to helping our customers address OSHA compliance cost-effectively and safely by offering a wide variety of compliant products that feature dust control solutions such as a vacuum port system that can integrate directly into the equipment. If you are planning your next project give us a call to find out how we can help.
For more information about the OSHA Regulation, please visit: https://www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/silicacrystalline/