Demolition Cleanup: How Can Silica Dust Affect Your Workers?

Posted on: 9 April 2018

If you recently completed a small demolition project on your site, you may want to clean up the debris as soon as possible. You may even allow your workers to clean up the site for you. However, your workers could be exposed to silica, a dust that could potentially cause cancer and disease of the lungs. Get more facts about silica below and how you can protect your workers from it. 

What's Silica?

Concrete and many of the other building materials found in your work site contain various natural minerals, including silica. Also known as quartz, silica comes in crystalline form and noncrystalline form. Although both forms of silica can harm you, it's the crystalline form you must worry about. 

When you break down, cut, saw, or demolish materials that contain crystalline silica, they create a hazardous dust. This dust isn't something you can see with the naked eye. However, workers can inhale the dust without even knowing it.

Inhaled silica can cause lung cancer and silicosis in some people. The symptoms of these conditions can occur within weeks of silica exposure, or the symptoms can manifest years later. Coughing up phlegm or mucous is one of the symptoms you or your employees may experience if silica damages the lungs.

Instead of place your workers at risk for silica lung damage, find a safer way to clean up your site.

How Do You Clean Up Your Site Safely?

One of the safest ways to clean and secure your site is to have a demolition crew remove the materials for you. Most demolition crews follow strict protocols when cleaning, removing, and transporting hazardous materials. These protocols allows crew members to reduce the amount of dust that enters the environment. 

In addition, a crew wears protective body and face gear during the process. The face gear prevents silica particles from entering the airways, eyes, and other tissues of the body, while the body gear keeps particles off workers' clothing and skin.

After the cleanup, a demolition contractor may recommend that you contact them for future jobs. Even small demolition jobs can expose your workers to silica dust. Since you already completed one job at your place of business, you may want to go ahead and have your workers tested for silica exposure. If some of your workers do have silica in the lungs, they can see a doctor for care.

If you need to know more about silica and how to handle it during a demolition project, contact a contractor, such as at Alliance Demolition Services Inc, today.