One of the biggest health risks to installers who frequently work with concrete is exposure to crystalline silica dust. Crystalline silica is found in many naturally-occurring minerals and is common in concrete. Although harmless in a set slab, when the set concrete is drilled or cut, the dust flies into the air and can be easily breathed in by a contractor who is not taking proper precautions. An estimated 2 million workers are at risk of negative health effects in the United States alone.
The health impact of expose to silica dust is very serious. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration,
“Crystalline silica has been classified as a human lung carcinogen. Additionally, breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal.”
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for silicosis and it can make the lungs susceptible to other infections as well.
In order to prevent excessive exposure to crystalline silica contractors should avoid installation methods that require cutting or drilling into concrete when possible. If drilling or cutting is required, installers should wear all recommended safety gear, including face and mouth protection.
The best way to avoid excessive concrete drilling is to use products that are set within the concrete, as opposed to products that need to be drilled in. For example, when installing threaded rod into a concrete ceiling, preset anchors can be attached before the pouring, and assemblies can easily be lifted into their required places once the concrete is set.
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Concrete preset anchors can be installed without drilling into concrete. Learn more about these products, and experience it for yourself. Click below to request a sample.
Source: OSHA Factsheet