Part Two: Handling Silica Dust

In part one of this two-part series, we ran through the occupations and facilities that are most likely to involve exposure to silica dust- the potentially dangerous by-product of crushing, drilling or cutting concrete and other materials.  Long-term exposure to silica dust can cause serious and sometimes fatal lung conditions and you should read that blog before you read this one.

OSHA has released new regulations surrounding the management of silica dust and the businesses’ responsibility to keep their employees safe and manage their exposure to silica dust. Regulations take effect on June 23, 2018, and if you haven’t started preparing for them already, you’re probably behind.

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Part One: Handling Silica Dust

These next two blog entries may, or may not, apply to the work your facility does – but it’s really important on several levels so it’s worth spending the time on.

Federal regulations about the handling of silica dust in the workplace are changing, and if you haven’t already, you’re going to need to adjust quickly.

Silica dust is produced when you crush, cut, grind, drill into, or blast concrete, dust, and rock. Its crystalline particles can get into a person’s lungs and cause serious, and sometimes fatal conditions.

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Operating a Damaged Forklift

Even with daily inspections and regular maintenance, forklifts will experience occasional failures of varying severity. In the event of milder equipment trouble, the temptation may exist to keep the unit in service, to tempt fate in the name of efficiency or production.

We can’t emphasize the next four words enough:

Don’t ever do this.

Never, ever.

Ok, that was six words, but the point remains. Ignoring safety procedures is one thing- willfully engaging a damaged or compromised piece of heavy equipment is another.

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Continuing Forklift Education

“The only thing that is constant is change.” – Heraclitus

Think about how much the industry has changed since you started. No matter when that was, there have been technological, procedural and safety improvements that you need to keep ahead of or else you are in danger of getting passed up by individuals who are more adaptable to change.

This is why keeping your training programs up to date is so important.

Safety training, of course, is the most important educational module to stay up to date with. The more forklifts change and new technologies are implemented, the more important safety procedures and new processes become. Preventing accidents, in addition to the obvious benefit, also saves money.  It allows your facility to continue to operate without costly investigations and keeps your staff humming along at full capacity.  Keeping your employees up to date on new procedures and training is a must.

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