Seven THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW about Silica Dust

According to the HSE, respirable crystalline silica (RCS), often referred to as Silica Dust, is the second biggest risk to construction workers, following asbestos. Knowledge is power when it comes to staying protected, which is why Skill Builder has joined forces with Scott Safety to create this educational video.

If you, or anyone you know, works with Silica Dust, please make sure you understand the risks and how to stay protected.

7 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW if you work with Silica Dust – that could save your life

1. Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) is present in materials that construction workers work with every day
Cutting, sanding and even sweeping these materials makes crystalline silica airborne, creating deadly Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS).

2. Exposure to RCS can kill you quickly
Exposure to too much RCS, in one go, can cause acute silicosis which can rapidly lead to death.

3. Exposure to RCS can kill you slowly
Long term exposure can cause fibrosis of the lung tissue and is linked to lung cancer and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

4. What you can’t see CAN hurt you
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
Even very small amounts of RCS can do long term damage, particularly over prolonged periods of exposure. The workplace exposure limit is over eight hours.

6. Controlling silica dust at source is a must
Choose tools with decent dust extraction and use methods such as wet cutting and wet sweeping.

7. Any old mask won’t do
An FFP3 disposable mask is usually a minimum requirement and many tasks will require greater protection. You need higher performing devices with APF’s of 20 or 40 and ideally a powered air respirator such as the Duraflow from Scott Safety, especially if you have a beard or heavy stubble which can allow Silica Dust to bypass the mask and reach your lungs.

With thanks to N J Richens Electrical.

About Dylan Garton

Dylan Garton is a cofounder of Skill Builder and freelance video producer, camera operator and video editor.

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