Silica dust refers to the crystalline silica that is present in stone, rock, sand, gravel and clay. These materials which are often called quartz are common on construction and oil and gas sites. The dust created by silica materials originates from these partials being ground, drilled or cut. Once these partials are distributed by such means, the silica is released in the form of dust making it easy to breathe in.
Silica dust is extremely dangerous when inhaled into your lungs. As silica dust is airborne and minuscule to the human eye, it’s very likely that those working in close proximity to the dust are likely to breathe it in. Silica dust is 100x smaller than a grain of sand and this intensifies the risk it poses to those exposed to it.
Exposure to silica dust has been linked to the development of lung cancer, silicosis (scarring of the lungs), kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Construction workers who come into contact with silica dust are far more likely to be at risk of developing related health issues. For this reason, Australia regulates the exposure standard to control the risks associated with silica dust. Approximately 587,000 Australian workers are exposed to silica dust in their workplace. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that 5758 of these people will develop a health problem resulting from this exposure. To negate the associated risks of silica dust exposure and minimise the number of people affected, there are several effective controls protocols that must be abided by.
Air monitoringis essential in lessening the risk of silica exposure. The mandatory limit for silica dust exposure in Australia is 0.1mg/m3 over an eight hour day. If exposure is expected to exceed this limit then other protective measures such as masks are required. Other procedures include engineering and work controls, hazard communication and housekeeping and hygiene standards.
According to the Australian Cancer Council’s risk management process, the elimination of silica dust is the most effective preventative measure. Getting rid of silica dust involves cleaning the area according to the industrial standard. Sweeping or using compressed air on silica dust may compound and exaggerate the problem as it causes dust bubbles to form and infiltrate the environment.
While all safety precautions are important, housekeeping plays a particularly significant role in minimising silica dust levels. Ensuring your work site is cleaned routinely and thoroughly will greatly decrease the risk of silica dust being present in the air you breathe. Industrial vacuum systems are designed to pick up vast amounts of dust and debris without redistributing any of these materials back into the environment. If silica dust is not collected properly, the associated health risks can increase. Here are our top picks for silica dust eliminators:
Deflin Industrial Vacuums
The Deflin range is the most suitable for extracting large amounts of dust and debris. The high filtration capacity tank is especially helpful in deposing of harmful silica dust. If silica dust isn’t collected properly, you run the risk of redeploying the particles back into the environment. This is especially concerning as this is when safety measures like protective masks would not be used. Equipped with detachable collection takes that mean you’ll have less time cleaning filters and more time to do what matters!
The Deflin Airflow range specialises in dust extraction. This de-dusting system is ideal for silica dust extraction as it uses a multidimensional collection system that guarantees to leave no trace. Ideal for the filtration and extraction of powders and dust, we can customise a Deflin Airflow system to suit your business’s needs.
Australian Industrial Vacuum is a market leader, providing innovative systems from around the globe. AIV is committed to simplifying the cleaning process for worksites around the country. We’re serious about silica dust prevention and can find a customised solution that not only meets safety regulation laws but also safeguards you and your employees from the associated health risks. We have experience under our belts, meaning we are the right people to find the right system for your needs. We understand the risks silica dust pose to construction and work sites around Australia, that’s why we deliver comprehensive industrial grade systems that specialise in dust collection and extraction.