Controlling Silica Exposure During Excavation Activities
Category: Toolbox Talks
Wet methods are used during excavations to control the dust suppressants from the soil. Water trucks equipped with hoses or nozzles is a common wet method that can be used to spray throughout the job site to control the dust.When you are using water, be sure to use enough to control the dust. However, don’t use too much water as it creates muddy areas and additional hazards. This would apply to both the excavation and the spoil pile that is being created during the work activity.
Operators must rely on working in an enclosed cab so they can be protected from silica:
• Windows and doors must be closed, along with heat and air conditioning in the cab.
• Check the seals around the doors and windows to prevent any silica dust from entering the cab.
This practice is only required when there is no water source or when the operator is the only worker performing the work activity. If ONE of the engineering controls are met, then no respiratory
protection is required. However, using engineering controls can bring additional hazards or challenges that we have to identify. For example, we would need to reassess the sloping/benching to prevent any cave-ins,and ensure the operator working from an enclosed cab can hear the spotter.