As featured in Powder/Bulk Solids
As a basic component of soil, sand, granite, and many other minerals, crystalline silica is found in many industrial facilities across the U.S. But, manufacturers must handle with care. This by-product has been recognized as a human carcinogen for close to 20 years. It is closely regulated by OSHA and watched by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the EPA and CDC. And, recently, it’s making headlines on the top of OSHA’s regulatory agenda.
OSHA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica was published in the Federal Register on September 12, 2013. The new proposed permissible exposure limit (PEL) is 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour day. The rule would apply to all industry, including construction and maritime. OSHA estimates the new PEL would prevent approximately 700 deaths per year.
Not only is silica dust a major worker safety concern, but companies are facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for failure to meet current PEL levels. So, keeping a clean, safe facility is a top priority for companies handling any form of silica by-product.
One of the largest independent oil and natural gas companies in the U.S. recently opened a sand processing facility where sand is washed, dried, and sent through a vibration and screening process to separate it by grain (mesh) size. This process involves the transfer of sand from containers to conveyors and back again, up and down seven levels of the plant. As you can imagine, the vibration and transport process results in excess materials and debris falling onto the mezzanines, equipment, and floor.
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For more information on Nilfisk central vacuum systems, visit www.nilfiskindustrialvacuums.com.