Decor8 Tile & Stone products pose no health risk during transportation, storage or end use. However, the airborne dust generated during the fabrication process (including cutting, chopping, sanding, drilling, sanding, polishing and manufacturing) may contain respirable crystalline silica. Prolonged or repeated inhalation of respirable crystalline silica can cause pulmonary fibrosis, commonly known as silicosis, as well as other serious pulmonary diseases such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, lung cancer, kidney damage and/or scleroderma, therefore appropriate measures should be taken to prevent exposure to respirable crystalline silica.
MANAGING RISKS AND EXPOSURE to respirable crystalline silica can be achieved by selecting and implementing adequate measures using the hierarchy of controls as stipulated by Safe Work Australia:
- isolation of the hazard - using principles of safe work design to designate areas for tasks that generate dust and appropriate worker positioning during these tasks, using enclosures and automation to conduct dust generating tasks
- engineering controls that minimise the risk of exposure to generated dust, for example, local exhaust ventilation, water suppression (wet cutting) or using tools with dust collection attachments
- should a risk still remain; administrative controls, including good housekeeping policies, shift rotations and modifying cutting sequences
- should a risk still remain; personal protective equipment including appropriate respiratory equipment (generally a minimum of a P2 efficiency half face respirator) and work clothing that does not collect dust.
More than one control will normally be required to adequately protect workers. The permissable exposure limits to respirable crystalline silica must also be met.
FIRST AID should be immediately applied in the following situations.
- If dust contacts the eyes, wash immediately with plenty of clean water for a minimum of 15 minutes (seek medical attention immediately).
- If dust contacts the skin, wash the affected area with soap and water, seeking medical attention if adverse effects occur.
- If inhalation of dust occurs, move the person to fresh air.
- If the person has stopped breathing, administer artifical respiration and seek medical attention urgently. The ingestion of dust is not typically dangerous as it is an inert material, however if large amounts have been ingested, seek medical attention.