Below you will find some of the most dangerous materials and chemicals present in hazardous operations across mining, industrial operations and construction – as well as what can be done to combat these elements.
The natural substance found in most rocks, sand and clay, as well as common construction materials, this is the biggest risk to construction workers after asbestos. Generated through mining, processing, transportation operations and “fracking”, it is fine enough to get into your lungs and too hard to see with normal lighting. In its crystalline form, known as Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS), prolonged exposure can cause lung cancer and other respiratory-related diseases.
In the US alone, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that more than 2.3 million workers are potentially exposed to dust containing RCS, with 90% of those workers employed in the construction industry.
Referred to as ‘white damp’ or the ‘silent killer’, carbon monoxide is a colourless, tasteless gas produced by appliances, where there is not sufficient air for them to work correctly, or by the combustion of coal. Carbon monoxide is present wherever fuel is burned and can be produced by home appliances, but is most prevalent in mining operations that are poorly ventilated or have confined spaces. In the UK, carbon monoxide poisoning accounts for 50 recorded deaths per year and as many as 4,000 medical visits, according to the Department of Health.
Large amounts of dust can be generated during drilling operations and explosive operations in dry conditions. Mining operations are generally the largest generator of dust, due to drilling and crushing – and as a consequence, managing the volume of dust in mining operations can be difficult. Breathing in fine dust particles can lead to various health hazards. In some instances, the effects of long-term exposure to dust may not be noticeable for years or decades, but it can cause considerable damage to the body.
But how can you protect your workforce from the dangers of respirable dust? Click on the link below to find out more in our eBook: