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Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) and how we prevent potential exposure

As a business that specialises in fabricating engineered stone benchtops, we take safety measures seriously. One of the main concerns in our industry is controlling the amount of silica dust that is produced during the fabrication process. Silica dust can be extremely hazardous to workers' health, causing lung cancer, silicosis, and other respiratory diseases.

To ensure the safety of our team, we have several measures to control silica dust during the fabrication process. We are part of the NZ Engineered Stone Advisory Group and have been accredited with a Silver RSC Accreditation with a current renewal underway. We are always working to better our control measures for our team.

Engineered stone is a chosen product by many home owners and we are glad to see some stone suppliers are in the process of dropping the silica content down in their products. This makes them comparable to natural stones like granite. It is important to note that when engineered stone has been installed in people's homes, it does not pose a health and safety risk.

In this blog post, we will discuss how our business uses safety measures to control silica dust when fabricating engineered stone benchtops in NZ.

Wet Cutting, Polishing

One of the main sources of silica dust during the fabrication process is cutting, grinding and polishing of the stone. To control the amount of dust produced during this process, we use a wet cutting method. This involves using water to cool the blade and suppress the dust produced during cutting. This not only reduces the amount of dust in the air but also reduces the risk of the blade overheating, prolonging its lifespan. Wet grinding and polishing of engineered stone is a safer alternative to dry methods. The process involves using tools which spray water onto the surface of the stone while it is being worked on, which helps to control dust and reduce the risk of silica exposure.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential for workers who are exposed to silica dust. We provide our workers with the necessary PPE, including respirators, eye protection, and gloves to ensure their safety. We also train our workers on how to properly use and maintain their PPE to ensure maximum protection.

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Regular Maintenance and Inspection

Regular maintenance and inspection of our equipment is crucial to ensure it is functioning properly and producing minimal dust. We have a team of skilled technicians who regularly inspect and maintain our equipment to ensure it is in optimal condition. This not only ensures the safety of our workers but also helps to prolong the lifespan of our equipment.

Employee Health Monitoring

We believe that employee Health Monitoring is essential in maintaining a safe work environment. We provide lung function testing as an essential health and safety measure in the workplace. It not only helps to identify employees at risk of developing respiratory illnesses but also provides valuable information on the effectiveness of workplace health and safety programs. Employers who prioritise the health and well-being of their employees must consider implementing regular lung function testing as part of their workplace health and safety program. By doing so, they can help ensure a safe and healthy work environment for their employees.

This also provides our team with comprehensive training on how to safely operate and use PPE, and identify potential hazards. This not only ensures their safety but also helps to create a culture of safety within our business.

Controlling silica dust is a critical part of our business. By implementing these safety measures, we ensure the safety of our workers and create a safe work environment. We are committed to providing high-quality products and service, while maintaining a safe workplace, and we believe that our investment in safety measures is crucial to achieving this goal.

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