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2015WinterShotcreteEMag

Safety Shooter Workers’ Dust Protection By Ray Schallom III Tdust masks in past issues of Shotcretehere have been articles, safety tips, andnumerous discussions over respirators and magazine that show and talk about what your workers should be wearing. These date back to the early 1970s, when the industry began a growing awareness of lung impairments resulting from exposure to cement dust for long periods of time. Cement dust can build up in your lungs if you do not wear any type of dust protection. I can remember when one of the old-timers who mentored me during that time had a heart attack; the X-rays showed he had a small cement buildup in his lungs. The company immediately Fig. 1: Honeywell odor-removing double band went out and outfitted every shotcrete crew with half mask and full face mask respirators. Forty years later, I am now one of those old-timers and I still wear my respirator in and around the shotcrete operation. Unfortunately, the latest industry challenge we face today is the confu- sion between silica fume (also called micro- silica), which has a very small round particulate, and larger silica sand particulates, which are jagged. The jagged particulates from the silica sand do not pass through your lungs like the rounded silica fume particulates do. Figures 1 through 3 show different types of N-95 rated masks and filters. Fig. 2: 3M half mask with P100 dust filters This article will deal with dust generated by the shotcrete processes and which mask meets Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) minimum require- ments. I have been around the dry and wet shotcrete processes for close to 40 years as a worker/mixer/gun tender, gun runner/operator, nozzleman, finisher, foreman, superintendent, project manager, and now owner. Over the past 40 years, I have been put through tests to check the level of dust generated during the work shift, which showed what type of dust protection my crew and I needed for the job. I have been on simple bridge repair projects to very difficult confined space projects. The dust monitors all came back with almost the same results. If the worker was wearing at least an N-95 dust mask (Fig. 1), the dust generated by the shotcrete Fig. 3: MSA half mask with N-95 prefilters 74 Shotcrete • Winter 2015


2015WinterShotcreteEMag
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