The growing increase in cases of silicosis is increasingly worrying as it generates a major problem in the stone sector. It is very common to find companies that do not take any measure for the necessary prevention and protection of their workers against this risk against their health. Maser continues with the awareness and prevention campaign for the eradication of this disease that increasingly affects a greater number of workers.
In 2018, according to the report prepared by the INS (Instituto Nacional de Silicosis), a total of 270 new cases of silicosis have been registered, 177 of which are active workers, and 83 of them are classified with a disease level as pneumoconiosis complicated, the highest rank of this. By regions Galicia is the community most affected by the disease, with more than 100 cases registered in the last year, followed by Castilla y León and Asturias.
In the last 10 years, there has been a remarkable rise with respect to the value of the preceding years. The patient profile of this last period is maintained, these are young active workers, who have short work histories, but who have been subjected to high exposure. Being the sectors of ornamental rock (slate and granite) and marble shops (workshops that use quartz conglomerates) that record the largest number of new cases.
With these data we must act now, and that is that an intense exposure to silica can cause the disease in a healthy worker in a year, and take 10 or 15 years to show symptoms. Its symptoms include cough, shortness of breath and weight loss.
Practices and procedures for preventive activity
The awareness of the employer and the workers is the first step to stop the increase in the occurrence of cases of the disease. Some measures recommended by the Guide for risk control due to exposure to BREATHABLE CRYSTAL SILICA, prepared by the Ministry of Industry and the INS, would be the protection, maintenance of machinery and the incorporation of new tools, equipment, etc.
It is important to create routines and control their application to ensure the performance of daily tasks in safe conditions to exposure to silica dust, such as:
- Check the correct functioning of the prevention systems (moisture supply, aspirations, etc.) prior to the start of the activity that generates dust in suspension (drilling, use of hammers, pouring and transfer of materials, sawing and cutting, etc.) .
- Good operator practices when leaving the cabins (mobile machinery or fixed installations).
- Instructions or authorizations for specific jobs with high exposure to dust, such as certain cleaning and maintenance tasks, for example, filters or collection equipment. And is that the maintenance of the equipment is designed to ensure its proper operation during use and avoid exposure to dust.
It is for this and other reasons that the company must have a preventive action plan, maintenance and repair of its equipment. Maser with its technical service guarantees workshops and factories a correct operation.
Organization of prevention
The awareness and prevention campaign for the eradication of this disease that we are carrying out, aims to transmit to our clients, through our communication and commercial network, the importance of adapting their businesses, as well as the necessary incorporation of new tools, such as pneumatic manual machines, which do not involve a large outlay and guarantee the best results.
Maser with more than 40 years of experience in the sector, is at the forefront of the latest technology and resources to facilitate daily work, as well as promote awareness-raising among companies in the sector. Over the past few years, we have introduced a new range of products on the market that allow dust extraction and filtration.
The dust extraction and filtration booths is the best system to avoid breathing silica dust when working with natural stone, quartz agglomerates or other materials. The center of aspiration goes from 2 meters to 6 meters with a special system of filters made of teflonado polyester that drastically reduces the need for maintenance and even allows use with water without any risk of deterioration.
The wide offer in manual and mechanized cutting centers incorporates water recirculation systems that prevent the generation of dust in suspension. For the control and discharge of these industrial wastes, which contain silica to public sanitation systems or rivers, it is necessary to treat and reuse them again, saving costs with the installation of water purification systems.
The alternative for small workshops is pneumatic tools, which we have mentioned before. Its necessary use of water for cutting, polishing or roughing, prevents the dust that is generated from being suspended. In addition, Maser has recently incorporated a series of accessories such as waterproof aprons, suction housings for grinders that avoid this toxic cloud that causes silicosis during dry work.
Maser continues with the awareness campaign, providing the companies in the sector with our experience, knowledge and help to achieve the disappearance of cases of silicosis, which do so much harm to all the people who work in the sector. Ask us for advice!