what is silica dust?
Silica, commonly known as silicon dioxide are extremely abundant in the Earth’s crust and makes up more than 95% of known rocks. It comes in both non-crystalline and crystalline forms. Silica dust is created in construction by using various products and processing activities. When cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling, and crushing stone, rock, concrete, brick and mortar, extremely small fine dust particles known as respirable crystalline silica (RCS) are produced. RCS is at least 100 times smaller than the regular sand you might find on beaches. Silica dust poses hazards to workers who inhale these tiny crystalline silica particles, making them more likely to develop serious lung damage and diseases linked to silica, such as:
- Silicosis – a potentially fatal, incurable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Lung cancer
- Kidney disease
- Various autoimmune diseases
Respirable Silica Dust Monitors
Respirable silica dust monitors are an important tool for construction workers and employers to ensure that workers are not exposed to dangerous levels of silica dust, and limit the risks associated with serious respiratory problems.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use respirable silica dust monitors when carrying out construction work:
Step 1. Choose the appropriate dust monitor:
There are different types of respirable silica dust monitors available on the market, each with its own set of features and capabilities. It’s important to gather all the information and consider factors such as the level of accuracy, ease of use, and portability when selecting a monitor.
Step 2. Calibrate the monitor:
Calibrate the monitor: Before using the monitor, calibrate it to ensure that it is providing accurate readings. This can typically be done by following the manufacturer’s compliance instructions.
Step 3. Choose the correct sampling location:
When using the monitor, it’s important to choose a location that is representative of the overall exposure levels that workers are likely to face. This may mean control measures like taking multiple readings from different areas of a worksite or taking readings at different times of day to account for changes in conditions.
Step 4. Turn on the monitor:
Turn on the monitor and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting it up and starting measurement processes.
Step 5. Take the measurement:
Place the monitor in the sampling location and allow it to run for the appropriate amount of time for testing, as determined by the manufacturer’s instructions. During this time, the monitor will measure the amount of respirable silica dust present in the air.
Step 6. Analyse the results:
After the measurement process is complete, the monitor will provide a reading of the amount of respirable silica dust present in the air. Compare this reading to established occupational exposure limits to determine if any action needs to be taken to reduce exposure levels.
Step 7. Repeat the process:
Regular air monitoring is important to ensure that workers are not exposed to dangerous levels of silica dust. Repeat the measurement process regularly, as determined by your workplace health monitoring and safety plan.
By using resources such as respirable silica dust monitors, construction workers, and employers can stay informed about silica dust exposure levels and take steps to protect workers from the harmful effects of silica dust.
Real-time Silica Dust (RCS) data is the key to the prevention and ending of the problem of silicosis in the workplace. Instant alarms, proper training and intelligent use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and Respiratory Protective Equipment allow smart deployment of extraction systems. Control Hire helps save lives, reduce costs and protect the reputation of your business through dust and ventilation control and monitoring.
Get in touch with our team today for a free site consultation.