Part Seven in our series featured the July 2013 announcement by NIOSH about workers’ clothing being an eighth (8th) source of respirable silica in hydraulic fracturing. In addition, the HalenHardy team has identified 11 more areas of exposure before, during and after hydraulic fracturing including:
#9. Airborne silica dust that settles on surrounding equipment
#10. Silica dust released at pneumatic hose connections on sand delivery trucks
#11. Silica spilled on well pad liners that need cleaned up after fracturing is completed
#12. Silica dust inside the cabs of workers’ vehicles & delivery trucks
#13. Silica dust generated during initial phases vertical well drilling
#14. Secondary exposure to silica dust brought home on workers’ clothing, boots and trucks
#15. Recycling workers exposed to discarded dusty well pad liners
#16. Workers and drivers at silica sand transloading facilities
#17. Workers who mobilize and demobilize pressure pumping fleets
#18. Workers exposed to respirable silica when they change vacuum filters and service bag houses
#19. Mechanics working on conveyors, sand movers and nearby completions equipment
One common element discovered in all 19 sources is that silica dust is easily deposited on worker clothing whether through airborne transfer or coming in contact with equipment and other materials in the vicinity of the source of the silica sand dust.
With multiple points of potential exposure to respirable silica dust in and around hydraulic fracturing, employers and workers must be vigilant around this dangerous material. “WorkSafe Magazine” warns, “It’s time to clear the air about silica dust. More common than asbestos – but just as deadly – regular exposure to this substance requires thorough prevention measures…like asbestos fibres, fine silica dust can’t always be seen with the naked eye but workers can easily inhale the particles…Depending on the level of exposure, silicosis can develop….there is no cure. The damage is permanent. The disease can kill.” “Cloud Control” by Heather Prime, August 2009. For the full article click on the link below.
Up Next: Part 9 – National Respirable Silica Focus Group STEPS Up
© 2013 Donald Beaver – HalenHardy, LLC – All rights reserved.
HalenHardy LLC, specializes in protecting workers from airborne dangerous dusts and operates from its headquarters in Bellwood, PA, near the epicenter of Marcellus Shale exploration & production region. Our innovative MASHH Mobile Air Showers by HalenHardy protect workers by removing hazardous dust from their clothing.
Respirable dust can only be adequately addressed by a combination of engineering and administrative controls and personal protection equipment including fit-tested respirators and an air shower. While an air shower is essential it will not on its own protect workers against the risks of breathing in respirable dust.