More than 1 million American workers are at risk of developing silicosis, a chronic lung disease that is caused by breathing in even the tiniest bits of silica dust. Silica, the second most common mineral in the earth’s crust, is a major component of sand, rock, and mineral ores like quartz. People working in jobs where they breathe in tiny silica bits—like sandblasting, mining, or various other kinds of metal shop work—are at the highest risk for silicosis. Inhaling tiny particles of silica can potentially cause fluid buildup and scar tissue in a worker’s lungs, decreasing the ability to breathe. Consistent use of an aluminum dust collector, and attention to its proper maintenance can significantly decrease the chance of exposing workers to these dangerous conditions.
Acute silicosis, a dangerous breathing condition, can occur in only weeks or months of exposure to very high levels of silica in its crystalline state. Welding, cutting, and brazing are examples of careers that contain a unique combination of both safety and health risks to more than 500,000 workers. Installment of down draft tables and dust collection systems is an industry standard that is monitored by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). In addition to personal safety concerns for workers, the CSB has also identified 281 combustible dust incidents between 1980 and 2005. These incidents led to the deaths of 119 workers, injured another 718, and extensively damaged numerous industrial facilities. Responsible companies who want to provide for the safety of their workers and avoid devastating industrial fires make use of properly installed and maintained self-cleaning cartridge collectors and self-contained downdraft tables. A quality and frequently inspected aluminum dust collector can help protect employees, as well as help maintain the safe keeping of facilities.
One well known incident occurred in 2010, when three workers were killed in an explosion in West Virginia caused by titanium dust. Despite this tragedy, not much has changed in regulation and prevention of these accidents. The situation grew desperate enough in 2014 that an emergency call to action was made by The US Chemical Safety Board. This group urged OSHA to take action and create new, sterner regulations.
Since 1968, more than 14,000 American workers have died from silicosis. More recently, hundreds of workers die of silicosis every year in America and hundreds more become disabled and are unable to take care of themselves and provide for their families. Making sure that factories throughout the country install aluminum dust collector systems and other safety measures make for safer work places and help ensure the health of employees.