Silicosis, a disease often resulting from prolonged exposure to silica dust, can cause numerous health problems, with the lungs being the most affected organ in the body.
Silica, a naturally-occurring crystal primarily made of quartz dust, is a human carcinogen. It causes the untreatable, yet preventable disease known as silicosis. It impairs lung functionalities caused by lung fibrosis, one of the precursors to tuberculosis.
The workers at greatest risk
Many industries have in employ, workers who deal with silica on a daily basis. The primary ones include those in the concrete and masonry manufacturing.
Because silica-containing products are major materials in the construction industry, construction workers are at great risk of fast exposure to the respirable particles of the mineral, what with these particles having a size ranging from as small as one micrometer.
How exposure happens
Exposure to silica dust can occur through a variety of means. Exposure usually happens to workers tasked to chip, hammer, and drill rock, as well as those whose responsibilities include rock crushing, hauling, loading, and dumping.
Those who handle abrasive silica blasting procedures as well concrete abrasive blasting also has increased risk of silicosis.
Other exposure methods include concrete and masonry procedures involving sawing, grinding, chipping, hammering, and drilling of silica-containing materials; demolition of structures that made use of concrete and masonry construction; as well as sand dust, concrete, and rock pressurized air blowing or dry sweeping.
Controlling dust: The key to minimizing silicosis hazards
The key to silicosis prevention in these industries is to keep the dust from going airborne. There are many different ways to control dust, but for the quickest, most efficient, and most effective method, use containment methods for applications involving abrasive blasting procedures; and wet dust collection systems for any dust-generating tools and equipment.
The last thing you want to happen to your workers is them getting sick, so invest in the right dust control technologies.