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Common Blast Safety Oversights – A Complete Guide

Sandblasting can be a dangerous part of any contract work. There are a variety of potential issues that can occur from improper ventilation to physical danger due to insecure blast hose. This article will provide common safety areas that are often overlooked. For ultimate assistance you should coordinate with an appropriate blast safety equipment provider as well as OSHA who provides complimentary onsite safety evaluations.

Oversight Area 1 – Respirators

OSHA lists requirements for blast cleaning hoods and all blast cleaning hoods must meet NIOSH 42 CFR part 84 for safety from blast dust. One common area of oversight is that NIOSH requires brand purity with respirators.  Brand purity essentially means that NIOSH wants the air supply hose and respirator to be from the same manufacturer. If you use a different manufacturers air supply hose it can be considered a safety problem.

In addition to maintaining brand purity, OSHA’s 1910.134 Respiratory Protection Standard states that all breathing air for supplied-air respirators must meet the requirements for Grade D breathing air described in ANSI/Compressed Gas Association Commodity Specifications for Air, G-7.1-1989. To provide properly clean air you typically need to have an appropriate filter for your air line or use an oiless free air pump.

For additional information check out this article on respiratory protection and abrasive blasting from the CDC.

Oversight Area 2 – Carbon Monoxide Monitoring

In addition to respirator considerations, carbon monoxide monitoring is often an overlooked safety area for sandblasting. OSHA 1910.134.1(6) requires that for compressors that are not oil lubricated, Carbon Monoxide does not exceed 10 PPM. To ensure you do not have excessive Carbon Monoxide in your air line requires proper monitoring. You can use a remote monitoring solution like the CMS 2, that requires somebody to be assigned to monitoring the unit or you can also use a hood mounted option like the CMS 3 with approved blast helmets like the Apollo 20, 60, or 600.

Oversight Area 3 – Dust

Sandblasting is known to create a lot of dust. Dust is dangerous both because of potential for inhalation as well as due to what is contained in the dust. OSHA provides an overview of air requirements for blast rooms in a variety of sections OSHA 1910.94. If you are blasting in doors you need to have sufficient dust collection to meet OSHA standards. Additionally, if you are blasting certain hazardous materials there can be additional air filtration requirements like HEPA filters depending on the individual application.

Oversight Area 4 – General Safety

Other common areas of potential oversight include blast hose safety. The blast hose can cause injury or even death if it becomes uncontrolled by an operator.  To ensure that this doesn’t happen a blast hose should have a safety that will cut media and air from being supplied (like a Clemco Deadman) in the event that something happens to the blast operator, whether it be due to a fall or any other issue. Additionally, it can be ideal to consider hose safety cables that will prevent a hose from whipping in the event that a hose bursts or disconnects.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately blast safety is critical to ensure that you complete jobs  without accidents. We have covered common areas where safety is overlooked.  For further questions you can always contact us for a free sandblast safety evaluation in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or West Virginia.  You can also work with OSHA in your state to ensure you are blasting safely.

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