That cloud of dust you see when someone is jack-hammering cement, blasting sand from castings, or demolishing a building does more than dirty your clothes and make your Kleenex a shade darker – it is extremely damaging to your lungs. You see, that cloud is actually crystalline silica. Crystalline silica, quartz, is the basic building block of many minerals such as granite, soil, and sand.
Seems harmless right?
The danger lies in the particles flying through the air that gets dragged into your lungs when you’re not wearing a mask. These tiny particles are like little shards of glass cutting up your lungs. As you continue to breathe this in, the cuts begin to form scar tissue.
The difference between getting a scar on your skin and getting scars in your lungs is while one is more of a cosmetic issue the other stops oxygen from being absorbed into your body. As everyone knows, you need oxygen to breath and, of course, live.
This is why it is so important to know how to protect yourself and why OSHA has changed the regulations regarding silica. The new PEL or Permissible Exposure Limit is 50 micrograms per cubic foot for an 8-hour shift.
Here at General Kinematics, however, we would prefer that you not breathe it at all. This is why our engineers have designed our equipment to automate your process and keep silica away from your operators. GK recognizes silica as a major health risk that needs to be addressed to ensure the safety of our customers. The VIBRA-DRUM® Sand and Casting Conditioner, as well as the SPIRA-COOL® Casting Cooling Conveyor and other closed GK systems, keep silica dust out of the air completely separating you from the danger.
It’s important to know what you can do to protect yourself from Silicosis and to let others know what they can do. Request a copy of GK’s Silica Awareness Poster, or click download to obtain a digital copy for your work area.
Download the poster here.