Two safety tips for those using sandblasting equipment in industrial facilities

Sandblasting equipment is frequently used by automotive and metal fabrication manufacturers. This equipment is designed to forcefully blow tiny sand particles across a surface, in order to polish and clean it.

While sandblasters are incredibly useful, they are also very powerful and as such, can cause injuries if they are not used correctly. Here are two safety tips for those who need to use this equipment in an industrial facility.

Take precautions to avoid inhaling harmful particles

The process of sandblasting a piece of metal or other material usually results in massive quantities of dust being released into the air.

This dust often contains silica, a harmful substance which can cause a number of serious and potentially fatal pulmonary diseases (such as silicosis, for example) if it is inhaled.

Because of this, it is absolutely vital for employees who need to sandblast a surface to take precautions to ensure that neither they nor those around them inhale the dust that they generate when they begin to operate the sandblasting equipment.

There are several ways to do this. Firstly, they should put on a high-quality respirator mask, with a fresh, clean filter. This will drastically reduce the number of dust particles that enter their lungs during the course of the sandblasting process.

Secondly, they should check that the facility's ventilation system is in good working order. Provided it is functioning properly, this system will extract most of the harmful particles that become airborne when the equipment is in use.

Thirdly, they should use plastic sheeting to seal off the area in which the equipment is being used, in order to prevent the airborne dust from floating into other parts of the facility. This will ensure that employees who do not have respirator masks on or who are not standing close to the ventilation system will not end up being exposed to the dust.

Wear eye protection

It is extremely important for employees who need to use sandblasting equipment to put on safety goggles before they begin their work.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, safety goggles can prevent the abrasive sand particles that are flung into the air during the sandblasting process from entering and scratching the employee's eyes. This, in turn, can spare them the pain and potential sight problems associated with this type of injury.

Secondly, wearing safety goggles can also ensure that the wearer does not make a dangerous error as a result of their vision being obstructed by sand particles.

This is a very important point to note, as if some of these particles were to get into their eyes and they could not see clearly for a few moments, they could, for example, accidentally point the nozzle of the equipment at a nearby employee. This could result in the highly-abrasive sand particles landing on that employee's exposed skin and eyes. This type of incident could leave them with serious lacerations and eye injuries.