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Guidance | Construction | Mining, oil and gas | Workplace exposures

OSHA fact sheet addresses abrasive blasting hazards

November 27, 2013

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Washington – OSHA recently issued a fact sheet about protecting workers from abrasive blasting materials.

Abrasive blasting is a technique in which compressed air or water and rough materials such as silica sand, glass or coal slag are used to clean an object or prepare a surface for painting. Workers involved with abrasive blasting may be exposed to dust and toxic metals, putting them at risk for lung damage, OSHA warns.

To help protect workers, the fact sheet suggests substituting less toxic materials, including dry ice, baking soda, ground walnut shells or high-pressure water. Other engineering controls include putting up barriers to isolate the process and providing ventilation. According to OSHA, administrative controls can include using wet methods to clean the area, wearing ear and face protection along with a helmet and gloves, and providing proper training.