PennCoat Epoxy Flooring – The Dangers of Crystalline Silica

Epoxy Flooring and polished concrete can create nice, durable finishes in your customers.  But there’s a looming death-threat behind the final finish.

Crystilline Silica is the threat.  Concrete is made from a plethora of industrial ingredients that present durability and strength.  But when that material gets ground and prepped for an epoxy coating installation, then it becomes an airborne dust.  This dust is the crystilline silica.

According to OSHA, 2.3 million workers are exposed to concrete dust containing silica.  A majority of these workers reside in the construction industry.  However, a few belong in manufacturing, specifically masonry, foundries, fracking, and other areas that involves breaking down rock.

These 2.3 million workers, because they are exposed to excessive dust containing crystilline silica, have an increased risk of experiencing  lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease.  And because of this increased risk, OSHA has decided to create a new occupational rule, that they have determined will help save nearly 600 lives per year, and decrease 900 cases per year.

OSHA’s Key Provisions:

  • It reduces the exposure limit of respirable crystalline silica to 50 micro-grams per cubic meter of air.  This is over an 8 hour shift.
  • Workers are required to either wet the concrete to control the dust. Or, they can rig ventilation that will mitigate the dust.  Additionally, workers are to wear respirators with adequate filtration cartridges, to reduce crystalline silica exposure.
  • Workers can receive medical exams to monitor their level of exposure to crystalline silica.

Sure, this sounds like another government mandate to restrict and reduce the productivity of the work force.  But realistically, these working environments should not be considered without a proper safety evaluation.

And although this may slow down your production, keep in mind that it must also slow down everyone else’s.  So if you’re fearful that you may not have as much opportunity to work, remember that this OSHA mandate effects everyone.

Additionally, ever since OSHA has laid down the gavel on safety, work-related deaths have drastically been reduced.  When OSHA first appeared, there was about 38 national deaths occurring every day.  43 years later, and work-related deaths have decreased to about 12 deaths per day.  That’s a significant amount of men and women that get to go home.  So although OSHA has its knocks, let’s keep things in perspective.

PennCoat, Inc. has been providing industrial painting, commercial painting, epoxy flooring, and polished concrete services for nearly 30 years.  Our experienced installers are trained and equipped with the proper knowledge and tools to ensure that every installation is installed efficiently and safely.  PennCoat, Inc. provides service to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.  And we cover York, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Chester, Montgomery, Baltimore, Harrisburg, Dauphin, Bucks, Berks, and other counties in the surrounding area.

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