The hazardous tasks workers perform on the job such as welding, cutting and brazing, pose a unique combination of safety and health risks that affect more than 500,000 workers in a variety of industries. One of those health risks is the risk of silicosis, a lung disease that is caused by the inhalation of crystalline silica.
What Are The Facts About Silicosis?
- Common symptoms include coughing, fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
- Silicosis can lead to other health problems such as heart disease and can make you more susceptible to a tuberculosis infection.
- More than 14,000 workers in the U.S. have died from silicosis since 1968.
- Silicosis kills hundreds of workers each year in the U.S. In addition, it leaves hundreds more disabled and unable to take care of themselves and their families.
- Acute silicosis can set just a few weeks or months after exposure to high levels of crystalline silica.
- Today, over 1 million workers in the U.S. are at risk of developing silicosis.
What Can Employers Do To Prevent Workers From Developing Silicosis?
- Utilizing a dust collection system is essential to maintain low levels of crystalline silica in the air.
- Invest in a downdraft table to draw metallic dust out of the room. A wet downdraft table uses water to help filter the dust from the air and trap it before it can cause harm.
- Before purchasing a wet downdraft table, make sure that it is NFPA and OSHA compliant for combustible dust collection.
- Train your employees on the safety measures that need to be taken when exposed to dust containing crystalline silica.
By educating your employees on the risks of silicosis and how to prevent it as well as implementing quality dust collection systems, you can keep your workplace safe from the many dangers of crystalline silica.