Warning and a Training guide on Dry Cutting : Grinding & Sanding
1. Silica—Identifying and managing crystalline silica dust exposure
This information guide provides brief guidance on the legislative requirements for identifying and managing respirable crystalline silica (RCS) dust exposure in workplaces.
What are risks from silica?
Health risks from RCS exposure include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (including chronic bronchitis and emphysema), silicosis, lung cancer, and renal disease. Lung defence mechanisms against the very fine dust that penetrates to the alveolar oxygen exchange part of the lung can be overwhelmed by silica particles, which can be toxic to macrophages.( macrophages are a type of white blood cell, of the immune system, that engulfs and digests cellular debris)
Workplaces supplied with products comprising silica (such as sand) and all workplaces where silica containing dust is generated in a process will be subject to the WHS Regulation.
Section 36 of the WHS Regulation specifically requires that the duty holder to use methods other than the use of personal protective equipment to prevent or reduce the exposure. What this implies is that duty holder must consider each of the higher order controls – substituting, isolating or engineering through ventilation before reaching the conclusion that personal protective equipment in the form of respirators is the most appropriate way to control the exposure to the silica.
For many workplaces with an RCS issue, such as concrete construction , elimination and even substitution of silica containing sands is an impractical control strategy. In addition, preventing exposure totally is likewise an impractical control aim, as some crystalline silica dusts will be produced wherever sands are encountered.
Respirators for particles are graded in terms of their performance in removing particles from air to be inhaled. The Australian New Zealand Standard 1715 Selection Use and Maintenance of Respiratory Protective Equipment (2009) contains the full guidance on selecting respiratory equipment suitable for dealing with mechanically generated particulates such as silica dusts.
Though Crystalline Silica has been the subject of regulation in Queensland’s workplaces since 1995. Although cases of silicosis have decreased substantially over the last three to four decades, increases in mechanisation have resulted in potentially very high exposures in some workplaces with a recent rise in detected health issues.
Inhaling RCS can lead to silicosis : Silicosis is a serious and irreversible lung disease that causes permanent disablement
and early death, and it is made worse by smoking.
Work activities likely to expose workers to RCS on site:
Cutting & grinding concrete
Cutting and grinding bricks, blocks and Hebel.
Working with cement
Cutting & grinding tiles
Sanding of cement based jointing or patching products
Excavating, drilling & rock hammering/ breaking
Cutting & grinding recesses in cement fibre sheeting
Mixing acrylic modified render
Attached is the SWMS-for Your Company-Dry Cutting.
Please contact Ross to cover yourself.