What Is Silica?
Category: Toolbox Talks
Why is it Dangerous?
• When you make Silica small and airborne it can be breathed in, unfortunately when you breath in small particles (the respirable crystalline stuff) it can cause chronic medical issues like:
• Silicosis: Scarring of lung tissue, COPD: Chronic obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and Lung Cancer
• Respirable Crystalline silica Exposure has also been linked to Kidney disease and autoimmune conditions like lupus
What are some of the sources of silica dust:
• Cutting, Sawing, Jack hammering, Scabbling, Bush hammering, Scarifying while working with concrete.
• Pouring, breaking, mixing, & or coring into Cement, Mortar, or Grout.
• Earth disturbing, scraping, sacking, patching while working with asphalt, aggregates, sand, soil (Fill Dirt, Top Soil Etc)
• Demolishing, Grinding, Sanding, Sweeping or cleaning while working with Brick, Block, Stone, tile, Drywall, Fiber Cement Products.
• And several more
How do we protect ourselves?
• We have to plan our jobs every person, every day in an attempt to eliminate and substitute Silica out.
• We’ll modify our work practices with engineering controls like wet methods, ventilation, HEPA filtration, and other protections to keep Silica levels under control.
• When Silica dust can’t be kept under certain limits we’ll wear PPE to protect us from breathing it in as a last line of defense.
• But very importantly everyone won’t be expected to work with the Respirable form of crystalline silica, only selected crews.
• Like any other hazardous material, if you aren’t one of those selected crews, stop and contact your foreman before attempting to do anything with that involves Respirable Crystalline Silica Dust!