Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New Fact Sheet on Abrasive Blasting

OSHA has released a new fact sheet highlighting the hazards associated with abrasive blasting materials. Abrasive blasting is a process in which compressed air or water is used to direct a high velocity stream of an abrasive material. Health hazards of abrasive blasting have gained attention in recent years as many clothing brands have joined bans against sandblasting jeans for a faded or worn look. However, abrasive blasting is also used for cleaning surfaces, removing burrs, applying texture and preparing surfaces for paint application, many of which are necessary processes that are difficult to accomplish without the use of abrasive blasting.

The fact sheet provides an overview of abrasive blasting materials and health hazards and gives several suggestions for reducing exposure, including the following:

  • Substitute harmful materials with less toxic abrasive materials.
  • Use abrasives that can be delivered with water (slurry) to reduce dust.
  • Isolate blasting operations using barriers and curtain walls, or use blast rooms for smaller operations.
  • For non-enclosed blasting operations, use restricted areas.
  • Keep coworkers away from blasters.
  • Use exhaust ventilation systems in containment structures to capture dust.
View the fact sheet here.