Ways to Protect Workers from the Hazards of Sandblasting
Sandblasting is the process of cleaning or roughing a surface with jets of sand that are driven by a stream of compressed air. When doing this, employers need to protect workers form hazards that can be generated from the blasting material, as well the surface that is being blasted. The abrasive material used in sandblasting can cause breathing problems and even lung cancer, so it’s important to stay protected with a variety of gear. This includes sandblasting suits and nova sandblaster helmets.
Since each sandblasting operation is unique, employers should identify the hazards before beginning any blasting. They should also empower a knowledgeable person who is trained to recognize any hazards with the authority to take action to eliminate them.
Personal protective equipment should be worn at all times. This includes hearing protection, eye and face protection, helmets, leather gloves that protect the full forearm, coveralls or aprons, and safety boots. Nova sandblaster helmets are a popular choice for protection. The Nova 3 helmet’s smart features include a respirator tube and adjustable ergonomics to make for a more comfortable fit. The Nova 2000 has been engineered to help make sure that abrasives and dust stay out, while still allowing the wearer to be comfortable. It also gives the wearer a wider and clearer view of the work area for added safety. A respirator needs to cover the workers head and neck to protect from any rebounding abrasive. Personnel that are involved in the cleanup may also need to use this type of protection. When a respirator is used, employers need to also establish a respiratory protection program as required by OSHA.
Personal Hygiene Practices
Don’t allow drinking, tobacco products, or eating in the blasting areas. There should be wash stations so workers can wash their face and hands routinely and before drinking or eating. Contaminated clothes should be removed before drinking or eating.
There are three different engineering controls that employers need to be aware of. These include substitution, isolation, and containment and ventilation. If possible, use a less abrasive blasting material and substitute out more toxic ones. Barriers and walls should be used to isolate any blasting from other workers, and blast cabinets can be used for smaller operations. Coworkers should be contained away from the blasting. An exhaust ventilation system should be used to capture dust.
Provide training to blasters and support personnel on the safety hazards and how to use the equipment, as well as personal hygiene best practices. Manufacturers are required to include any health hazard information with the blasting materials as required by the Hazard Communication Standard set by OSHA. It is important to read all this manufacturing information before you begin using equipment and materials.