Abrasive blast cleaning is the process where compressed air or water is used to remove contaminants from a given surface. This process is also used to put texture on a surface so that coating can attach to the surface during the application.
This process though has its hazards. The following are but some of the existing hazards in the use of abrasive blast cleaning and ways to minimize its effects.
- Noise Pollution. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has noted that abrasive blast cleaning produces significant noise and thus results in substantial hearing loss for workers. This is most especially true for long term repeated use. In order to minimize this, the use of ear mufflers or ear plugs is one way to protect the soft membranes of the inner ear from the repeated pounding of the cleaning process.
- Dust Pollution. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration also highlighted the resulting dust particles produced when air is used in the abrasive blast cleaning process. This is also true when abrasive materials such as silica, beads, coal particles or steel grits are utilized to create texture on a surface. The produced dust would prove to be harmful to the eyes, air passageways and even skin of the workers in the immediate area. In order to minimize this, protective goggles, face airway masks and protective clothing must be worn at all times near the abrasive blast cleaning area.
There is a clear and present danger to the health and welfare of workers when using abrasive blast cleaning in the work area. Noise cancelling gear can help minimize possible injuries to the ears and hearing of the workers. Protective clothing in the eyes, nose, mouth and skin area can also help minimize the risk of injuries to the lungs, eyes and skin of the workers. Simple measures need to be taken to ensure the long term health of workers using abrasive blast cleaning in their daily grind.