If the employees in your manufacturing facility perform abrasive blasting work, here are two tips that you should keep in mind to prevent anyone from being injured whilst these people are working.
1. Insist that equipment operators inspect their respirators regularly
The dust that the abrasive blasting equipment generates whilst it is in use may contain harmful materials, including silica, a substance that can cause serious lung disease if it is inhaled. Because of this, any employee that operators the abrasive blasting equipment must wear a respirator, as this will stop the dust from getting into their respiratory system.
However, a respirator will only protect the wearer's lungs if it is in good condition. If, for example, its filter becomes clogged with too much dust, or if a crack forms in the mask itself, the dust in the surrounding air may still get into the wearer's lungs. Given this, it is critical for you to ensure that your employees who use this equipment inspect their respirators regularly throughout the work process.
More specifically, they should check the filter as well as the overall condition of the mask before they put it on, midway through the work process (they will need to leave the work area to do this, to avoid being exposed to toxic dust) and when they have finished using the equipment. If they discover any problems with the respirator during one of these inspections, they should immediately leave the work area and find another mask that is in good condition before continuing with their work.
2. Never permit those who are not wearing safety gear to access the work area
It is also very important to ensure that employees who are not involved in the abrasive blasting process and do not, therefore, have the necessary safety gear and protective clothing that should be worn around the equipment, are not permitted to access the work area whilst the equipment is in use.
The reason for this is that even short bouts of exposure to abrasive particles can leave an unprotected employee at risk of illness and injury. They may, for example, inhale the toxic dust and eventually develop a lung condition, or sustain skin lacerations as a result of the abrasive particles striking their exposed skin. As such, it is best to simply forbid employees who are not wearing the appropriate clothing and safety gear from entering the work area where the abrasive blasting equipment is being operated.