The Benefits of Silica Dust Collection Systems

As of September 23, 2017, new OSHA regulations involving silica dust safety will be put into place. Silica dust causes numerous health issues, and since so many materials on an average construction site contain this respirable carcinogen, it is important that businesses take the proper precautions. Fortunately, investing in the right silica dust collection system can provide numerous benefits to both employers and staff.


Achieve OSHA Silica Dust Compliance

In order to maintain compliance with the new OSHA silica dust regulations, the right dust collection systems and personal protection equipment will be required. Beginning in September 2017, a revised Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) will be in place, setting that limit to 50 micrograms per cubic feet of air, averaged over an eight-hour work day. The construction industry and general/maritime industries will both need to comply with this standard, and silica dust collection systems can ensure jobsites stay within this limit.


Protect Worker Health

Silica dust exposure has been linked to many adverse health effects to workers in the construction industry. As a human carcinogen, breathing in silica dust has been connected to a variety of long-term health issues, the most common of which is silicosis. When workers breathe in silica dust, the lungs may develop scar tissue that impairs the organ’s ability to take in oxygen. Severe cases can be fatal, and unfortunately, there is no known cure at this time.

In addition to silicosis, other conditions have been tied to silica dust exposure:

  • Lung cancer. Researchers from Emory University conducted a study in 2013 to identify whether a connection between respirable silica and lung cancer exists. It was found that silica dust exposure actually increases the risk of lung cancer development.
  • Tuberculosis. Silica-exposed workers are at an increased risk for tuberculosis. According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, industrial sand workers exposed to silica dust had three times the number of TB-related deaths than the general public.
  • Kidney disease. Kidney disease, including the most serious form of end-stage kidney disease, is much more likely among silica-exposed workers than the general public. Patients may require dialysis or a transplant to survive.

Additionally, a 2012 study published in PLOS Medicine found that long-term silica dust exposure was associated with significantly increased mortality among Chinese workers, not just for respiratory diseases, but also for deaths as a result of cardiovascular disease. Ultimately, the right silica dust collection system will safeguard your staff against these long-term illnesses and help maintain a great jobsite safety record.


Prolong Life of Construction Equipment

If a business has failed to collect silica dust at the source, such as during cutting, drilling, or grinding, it is likely that silica dust has been built up around the work area. Expensive equipment, ventilation ducts, and other surfaces may have accumulated significant amounts of silica dust, and while it might not be airborne, it still poses a risk. This dust accumulation can affect the lifespan and operations of your equipment, and it can also present major safety risks such as fires and explosions. Hence, collection of this dust, with the right silica dust collection power tools and extractors, is essential to worker safety as well as your tools, machinery, and equipment.


Improve Overall Comfort and Air Quality

The right silica dust collection systems will help to improve overall air quality on a jobsite. There are many benefits associated with improved air quality in any space:

  • Easier breathing, providing the body with the oxygen that it needs
  • Elimination of allergens, including mold spores, dust, pollen, and others
  • Reduced pollution in the air, minimizing the carbon footprint of any construction jobsite

With the impending OSHA silica dust regulation changes on the horizon, there is no better time to invest in a new silica dust collection system. At Power Bolt & Tool, we offer an extensive inventory of silica dust collection equipment, and we look forward to helping your business select the right system for your needs.

Call us now to talk to a silica dust control expert: 1-888-514-5151


Silica and OSHA Resources