Sandblasting is a highly effective method for smoothing rough edges and surface textures to prep objects for coating and finishing. However, the use of forcibly-propelled abrasive materials (specifically toxic crystalline silica) is extremely hazardous to the human body. Therefore, proper experience, training, and equipment are absolutely vital. Here are four essential precautions needed to keep sandblasting safe.
Personal Protective Equipment
When working with toxic, abrasive materials, individuals must wear the proper personal protective equipment. Luckily, there aren’t many PPE items required to sandblast surfaces safely. Mainly, it’s important to prioritize eye and lung protection. As such, blasting workers must wear OSHA-recommended helmets, safety goggles, and, in certain environments, respirator masks. Additionally, reinforced boots, thermal-resistant gloves, earplugs, and clothing that covers as much exposed skin as possible are preferable when conducting sandblasting.
Quick Sandblasting Equipment Check
Aside from properly maintaining and wearing PPE, blasting workers should examine their tools, machinery, and related equipment before starting their work. Specifically, you should inspect your sandblasting station for cracks or other signs of physical damage. These complications can directly lead to leaking toxins and further threaten the well-being of everyone involved. If any damages are noticeable during this investigation, replace the impacted equipment immediately before resuming. Additionally, pause your sandblasting processes and troubleshoot your tools if a complication occurs during them.
An unsafe environment can elevate the hazards associated with sandblasting processes. Primarily, poorly ventilated spaces with faulty electrical systems are more likely to circulate contaminated air or even cause spontaneous combustion! Localized ventilation equipment is often necessary to manage dust and particle accumulation safely. Furthermore, sandblasting environments are usually very open and free of any unnecessary objects, supplies, and more. This reduces the chances of an individual tripping over equipment and suffering an injury or causing one for someone else.
Lastly, extensive cleanup considerations should follow sandblasting services to ensure a safe environment for employees and others. Using HEPA-filtered vacuums is a convenient and accurate method for properly cleaning a contaminated space. Alternatively, water-based cleaning methods remain effective enough to remove all hazardous materials and toxins from the surface. However, using compressed air to clean your workspace and sandblasted surfaces is highly ineffective and potentially dangerous.
As you can clearly see, many essential precautions are necessary to keep sandblasting safe for everyone involved. Additionally, years of training, experience, and access to the proper tools help when attempting to sandblast. So never hesitate to hire professional industrial sandblasting from a reputable facility. You can contact our team at Professional Finishing today and learn more about our safe and effective services!