Silicosis Guidelines for Fabricators only
WHAT IS SILICOSIS?
Silicosis is an occupational disease, known for over a century, which may affect workers in the stone fabrication industry if they process marble, granite, quartz surfaces and other natural stones without safety measures. In the quartz surfaces industry, this disease may affect the Fabrication Process workers themselves, and any other person who is present at the Fabrication Process facilities (where there is silica dust) on a regular basis.
CAN CRYSTALLINE SILICA DUST HAZARDS BE PREVENTED?
Yes. Exposure to crystalline silica dust and the related risks that may result from such exposure can be reduced and controlled if the proper safety measures are implemented. These measures include, among others, installing proper engineering controls (ventilation and filtration), working with CNC machines and water-injected tools, and using appropriate respiratory protection.
You must assess and ensure that occupational exposure to airborne crystalline silica dust is below the Permissible Exposure Limits established by your local authority and regulations. Always apply your local laws and regulations regarding working in environments containing harmful dust.
In order to control and reduce/eliminate the health risks associated with crystalline silica, we recommend that a Silica Control Programme be implemented in the workplace in accordance with all the applicable laws, regulations, orders and directives. This programme should be reviewed on a regular basis.
It is important to note that the exposure and personal protection precautions are only necessary for the fabrication of Caesarstone products (cutting, sawing, polishing etc.), due to the dust that may be generated in the process, and not from the Caesarstone slab as a product.
The employer is responsible for providing his workers with all the information, tools and safety measures required in order to protect them from the dangers of exposure to silica dust. The workers are responsible for fully implementing the safety instructions. Access to the work area should be restricted to authorized employees only. By a joint effort of the employer and workers, the workplace can become a healthy environment for everyone.
WHAT RECOMMENDATION DOES PLUTUS OFFER TO ENSURE SAFE WORKING PRACTICES?
“If you work with silica and the fabrication of engineered quartz surfaces, please download and read the following guide:
PLUTUS FABRICATION AND HEALTH PROTECTION GUIDE
The objectives of this Guide are to:
Reiterate the information about the well-known risks and health hazards during working in an environment where respirable crystalline silica dust is created; and
Remind you of certain information to assist in reducing workers’ exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust, including information on the safe use of products containing crystalline silica in the workplace and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that can be used, if necessary.
- Avoid exposure to products with high pH levels such as oven cleaner. Rinse immediately to neutralize the effect, and then follow usual cleaning procedure.
- Avoid exposure to paint strippers, paint removers, bleach and nail polish remover. Rinse immediately with clean water to neutralise the effect, and then follow usual cleaning procedure.
- Avoid exposure to high impact, especially on the edges.
- Avoid excessive weight being placed on your bench top, such as tradespeople standing on the bench top when doing other work in your home such as painting or electrical work.
Furthermore, the instructions in this Guide are addressed to employers and workers who fabricate Plutus Quartz Stone slabs and derived products in order to help them control their exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust.
It is important to note that the information provided in this Guide does not replace and/or specify all your local laws and regulations, which you must comply with and, therefore, you are required to be familiar with and adhere to all your local laws and regulations and consult with occupational health and safety professionals.