18 April 2016
Silica dust is one of five common agents associated with work related cancer deaths in the UK that IOSH is highlighting through its ‘No time to lose campaign’.
Crystalline silica is a natural substance found in stone, rocks, sand and clay, as well as products like bricks, tiles, concrete and some plastic composites. When these materials are worked on, for example by cutting or drilling, the crystalline silica is released as a very fine dust which can be breathed in. Tiny amounts of this fine dust can damage lungs permanently.
In repairing, relining and recoating structures to the UK utility industries CSC Services undertakes work that results in exposure to silica dust. Where possible CSC Services advocates the use of dustless blasting over traditional cleaning methods to remove rust and old paint or coatings from surfaces. This is important to protect operatives, but also because dust can stay in the air after a job’s been done potentially affecting others not directly related with the work being undertaken.
Mark Lemon, Managing Director of CSC Services explains:
“The No time to lose campaign is getting people to change their attitude to dust and take the issue seriously. Dust is often accepted as something that just naturally occurs as part of work processes and it shouldn’t be.
“With more and more companies signing up to this campaign dustless blasting is going to become more important in cleaning and preparing structures for coatings and relining. With dustless blasting all dust, materials and old coatings are vacuumed back into the machine once blasted from a surface.”
The ‘No time to lose campaign’ advises workers to keep dust down by:
Asbestos, diesel engine exhaust fumes, solar radiation and shift work are the other agents associated with work related cancer registrations.
IOSH are aiming to get work –related cancer more widely understood and help businesses to take action. Visit https://www.notimetolose.org.uk for more information.