What is Silicosis?
Silicosis is an irreversible & progressive disease that causes fibrosis of the lungs, the only known treatment for advanced cases of disease is a lung transplant.
While New Zealand currently has no recorded cases of advanced silicosis, not so fortunate are our Australian neighbors where in Queensland alone there were 99 confirmed cases as of February 2019. The majority of those cases according to industry authorities were not presenting symptoms.
How is silicosis caused?
According to the Ministry of Health silicosis is linked to inhalation of crystalline silica dust from newer engineered stone products & can take 1 to 10 years to manifest after a worker is exposed to high amounts
Newer engineered stone products contain about 90% silica which is a far greater amount than is found in natural stone products.
Workers can be exposed to silicosis while: Cutting, Grinding, Sanding & Polishing
How to prevent silica inhalation - Prevention is better than cure
When the dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmum uttered the words 'Prevention is better than cure' (of whom the phrase is attributed to) he may never have realised how well known the phrase would become throughout the course of history!
No more appropriate is it than in the case of Silicosis also! Preventing the inhalation of silica dust will save both the employee & employeer over years to come.
Silia dust suppresion can be in the form of:
- Wet: Using cutting, grinding & polishing tools with a water source to capture silica in a slurry that is extracted
- Dry: Dry cutting, drilling, grinding & polishing still has it's merits. Where this is the case extraction equipment such as dust shrouds catchment systems can be used to remove the silica dust from the work area where it's generated.