Home>Breathing Safely>Respirators>Silica dust: Say RPE not RIP

Silica dust: Say RPE not RIP

05 March 2018

According to Scott Safety, here are seven things you need to know if you work with silica dust:

  • RSC is present in materials that construction workers work with: Cutting, sanding and sweeping these makes crystalline silica airborne, creating deadly Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS).
  • Exposure to RCS can kill you quickly: Exposure to too much RCS, can cause acute silicosis which can rapidly lead to death.
  • Exposure to RCS can kill you slowly: Long term exposure can cause fibrosis of the lung tissue, lung cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
  • What you can’t see can hurt you: In most light RCS particles are too fine to be seen by the naked eye.
  • It doesn’t take much dust to do damage: Even small amounts of RCS can do long term damage, particularly over prolonged periods of exposure. The workplace exposure limit is 0.1mg.mg over eight hours. 
  • Control silica dust at its source: Choose tools with decent dust extraction and use methods such as wet cutting and wet sweeping.
  • An FFP3 disposable mask is usually a minimum requirement and many tasks need greater protection: 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.