As rampant as silica dust is, silicosis is very much preventable. There are time-honored safety measures that can be observed even if it is an occupational hazard. What’s unfortunate is that workers commonly lack awareness about this matter.
This article aims to provide general safety guidelines, and we would greatly appreciate if you would spread the word.
A responsible employer knows how to take care of the workers. For one, your employer should abide by the law and provide you with safety gears and equipment (specially-designed respirator, safety clothing, goggles, gloves, etc.) in a worksite that conforms to standards (ventilation, use of water spray, etc.). As a worker, you should learn about the insurance policies and health programs of your employer.
Be responsible. Your employer will set safety procedures and will obey the law, but out in the worksite, you are all by yourself most of the time. You owe it to yourself to practice hygiene:
- Know what causes silica dust. If you work with diamond blade, then be sure you know the proper way to use it.
- No eating/drinking/smoking in the area.
- Wash your hands and face with soap regularly.
- Observe the safety guidelines set by your employer
- If you could, try to take a shower before leaving the worksite. Be sure to change into clean clothes.
- As for the respirator you are being made to use, be sure it fits well. You may want to lose the beard or moustache as they may keep the respirator from sticking to your face.
Construction dust, whether silica, non-silica or wood dust, is everywhere. Remember that there is dust so miniscule it cannot be seen by the naked eye. So even if you don’t see anything, that doesn’t mean you are not at risk. The fact that you are working at a construction site with tools like diamond core bit, you could be at risk, so please… observe safety procedures.