Will new product give adequate protection from toxic materials?

Construction workers here in Ohio and across the country are exposed to numerous hazards on the job. Their employers should provide them with the best safety equipment possible in order to reduce the potential for injury, including those that come from toxic materials. In light of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's new rules regarding crystalline silica, one company responded with a new product it claims will keep construction workers safe from this and other substances and materials that cause serious health problems.

The "retrofit dust suppression spray kit" is designed to spray six gallons of water every hour to keep dangerous dust from crystalline silica at bay. The company claims it is a simple solution to use since it connects to an ordinary garden hose. Only time will tell if the new product, which is said to meet OSHA standards, will do its job adequately and protect construction workers from silica and silica dust.

When OSHA updated its rule regarding crystalline silica, it also specified exposure equipment requirements based on two main factors: time and location. The only time that workers are not required to wear either elastomeric or an AFP 10 dust mask is when working outdoors for four hours or less. Any other time, the correct mask or elastromeric must be worn.

It is possible that employers across the country, including here in Ohio, will purchase products such as the spray kit mentioned above to help in complying with OSHA's new regulations. However, since the product is essentially untested in "real-world" situations, it could be some time before it is known whether it works properly. Exposure to toxic materials can lead to numerous illnesses for which symptoms may not appear for some time after the initial exposure. Anyone working with safety products designed to limit or eliminate their exposure may want to keep detailed records in the event symptoms of an illness arise in order to hold manufacturers accountable for possible product failures.

Source: constructionequipmentguide.com, "Chicago Pneumatic Construction Equipment Introduces Retrofit Dust Suppression Spray Kit", Feb. 28, 2018

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