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Knowledge Guide: Reduce and prevent exposure to silica dust

A simple but effective way to reduce exposure to silica!

This article explains the effects of silica on our health and a simple but effective solution to help control dust in your environment.

What are the health risks of exposure to Silica?

There are significant risks to the health of your workforce when exposed to dust and mainly fine dust known as Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS), which is fine enough to get in to the lungs.

Exposure can cause one of the following health issues:

Silicosis – Silicosis makes breathing more difficult and increases the risk of lung infections.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – COPD is a group of lung diseases, including bronchitis and emphysema, resulting in severe breathlessness, prolonged coughing and chronic disability.

Lung cancer – Heavy and prolonged exposure to RCS can cause lung cancer.

There are many products such as brick, concrete, sand, ceramics and some plastics contain Silica.

The table below produced by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) shows approximate Crystalline Silica content of different materials…

MATERIAL / PRODUCT APPROX RCS CONTENT
Sandstone 70–90%
Concrete / Mortar 25–70%
Tile 30–45%
Granite 20–45% (typically 30%)
Slate 20–40%
Brick Up to 30%
Limestone 2%
Marble 2%

 

Why you need to protect your employees

Silica and other dust particles come under the 2002 COSHH Regulation, which means that the employer must assess these risks. This risk assessment includes recording any significant hazards and how to control or prevent exposure to these substances. Of course, PPE should be provided, but is there a more effective way to prevent a dust-filled environment existing in the first place?

Dust is created from many processes including cutting, sanding, mixing, breaking and drilling to name a few, all common place in manufacturing facilities.

Flexiwall for Dust Prevention

Traditionally it may not have been easy or feasible to segregate these processes from other processes in the same space. This could be due to;

  • Space constraints
  • The downtime impact of installing a partition
  • The costs involved (both direct and indirect)
  • The mess that the process itself would cause
  • Or not being able to find a solution flexible enough to adapt to any future changes.

Our Flexiwall solution overcomes all these issues and creates a 99%+ dust tight seal.

How does Flexiwall work?

The final system is made up of individual panels which each have a unique overlapping system that connects it to the next, this unique design prevents dust escaping whilst being quick and clean to install. All our panels are fire rated to give you total peace of mind and the flexibility and versatility of our Partitions and Enclosures means that we can install to any shape, height or length.

What about high level penetrations?

 No problem, Flexiwall can be installed around existing services and ducting without hassle, meaning it can be installed right up to the ceiling to give you that complete dust tight seal.

Additional benefits

 In addition to creating dust free environments, our Flexiwall Systems are easy and quick to install. All the panels are produced off-site, which means minimum disruption to your productivity and virtually no mess during the installation process.

Flexiwall
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