Respirable crystalline silica, or silica dust, is an assortment of airborne particles caused by working with materials containing crystalline silica. Manufacturing and construction industry workers are often exposed to these particles when drilling or grinding various materials, including concrete, stone and brick.
Provide the best dust masks for silica to protect your employees from these potentially dangerous particles.
OSHA Silica Standards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established various regulations to protect workers from the potential side effects of silica dust. The proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for silica exposure can protect individuals from developing diseases such as silicosis, which results in permanent lung damage.
Current OSHA silica dust standards state that the permissible exposure limit (PEL) is 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air over eight hours. OSHA also requires employers to monitor the level of silica dust in the air. You can either assess the exposure of each employee working around silica dust or schedule regular tests.
If you choose scheduled tests, you can test the silica dust levels every six months if they are below the PEL and every three months if they are above it. In cases when high silica dust levels are unavoidable, protect your employees and follow OSHA silica standards by doing the following:
- Provide silica dust masks to your workers.
- Ventilate work areas.
- Limit the time workers spend in high-exposure areas.
- Train employees on silica dust safety.
- Create an in-depth exposure control plan.
- Post safety requirement reminders in work areas.
Respirators Needed for Silica Dust
If the silica dust levels in your facility or work area are above OSHA’s PEL, use the appropriate respirators to ensure your employees stay safe. The best dust masks for silica have the following qualities:
- High rating: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) rates masks based on their effectiveness and purpose. Silica dust masks should have an N95 rating, at least. These filters will capture at least 95% of dust particles.
- Tight fit: Workers need masks that fit their faces well to ensure the filters are as effective as possible. There are various options available, like two-strap styles and full-face respirators. Offer several options so your workers have the best protection based on their individual needs.
Choose SUNLINE Supply for Effective PPE
At SUNLINE Supply, we provide PPE for silica exposure to help you keep your workers safe. Our FDA-certified products will protect individuals from the harmful side effects caused by consistent silica dust exposure.