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Silica Dust: Say RPE not RIP

04 July 2017

7 Things you need to know if you work with Silica Dust:

  1. RSC is present in materials that construction workers work with a. Cutting, sanding and sweeping these  makes crystalline silica airborne, creating deadly Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS).
  2. Exposure to RCS can kill you quickly a. Exposure to too much RCS, can cause acute silicosis which can rapidly lead to death.
  3. Exposure to RCS can kill you slowly a. Long term exposure can cause fibrosis of the lung tissue, lung cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
  4. What you can’t see can hurt you a. In most light RCS particles are too fine to be seen by the naked eye.
  5. It doesn’t take much dust to do damage a. Even small amounts of RCS can do long term damage, particularly over prolonged periods of exposure. b. The workplace exposure limit is 0.1mg.mg over eight hours.
  6. Control silica dust at its source a. Choose tools with decent dust extraction and use methods such as wet cutting and wet sweeping.
  7. An FFP3 disposable mask is usually a minimum requirement and many tasks need greater protection a. Higher performing devices with APF’s of 20 or 40 and ideally a powered air respirator, especially if you have a beard which can allow silica dust to bypass the mask and reach your lungs.