Silicosis is a chronic lung disease, which is caused by inhaling large amounts of crystalline silica dust. This can occur over many years.
Silica Dust & Its Dangers
Silica is a substance that is found in certain types of stone, rock, sand and clay. When worked with, these materials can create a very fine dust that can be easily inhaled. The immune system attacks the dust particles inside the lungs, causing inflammation and eventually leading to fibrosis, or scarring, of the lung tissue. Scarred lung tissue does not function properly. Silicosis can cause cancer and is a life-threatening condition.
In Britain, nearly 800 people every year are killed by lung cancer caused by silica dust exposure at work. That is an average of fifteen people every week. Around five million people are exposed to silica dust in the workplace every year in the European Union. Workers in industries such as stone masonry, construction, demolition and sandblasting are, particularly at risk.
In June 2019, a stonemasonry company whose employee developed silicosis was ordered to pay £18,000 in fines and costs. Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Sharon Butler is quoted as saying the company could have taken “simple steps to stop workers breathing in the dust.” Go Stonemasonry pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It has been fined £8,000 and ordered to pay £10,000 costs.
Face Fitting Service
Here at Fulcrum Scaffold Safety and Training Ltd, we offer a face fit testing service. Face fit testing of masks is important because not everyone has the same shaped face, therefore one mask will not fit every worker well enough to prevent them from breathing in tiny particles of silica dust. Face fit testing ensures that respiratory protective equipment provides adequate protection for your workers.