PaintSquare.com


The First Word in Protective & Marine Coatings

A Product of Technology Publishing / PaintSquare
JPCL | PaintSquare News | Durability + Design | Paint BidTracker

Chemical & Petrochemical Plant Coating Systems

Paint and Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


OSHA Issues Health Alert on Fracking

Thursday, June 28, 2012

More items for Health & Safety

Comment | More

The recent surge in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) activities in shale operations is exposing workers to dangerous levels of silica, federal officials are warning.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have issued a joint hazard alert to employers in hydraulic fracturing operations, warning of the need to take steps to protect workers from silica exposure.

“Hazardous exposures to silica can and must be prevented,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “It is important for employers and workers to understand the hazards associated with silica exposure in hydraulic fracturing operations and how to protect workers.”

Health Study

The alert follows a study by NIOSH and industry partners that identified overexposure to silica as a health hazard to workers conducting hydraulic fracturing operations.

Hydraulic fracturing uses large quantities of silica sand, which is the most commonly used proppant to prevent the induced fractures in the rock from closing.

 Workers downwind of sand mover and blender operations had the highest exposures to silica dust.

 Photos: NIOSH

A study of 11 fracking sites found seven primary sources of silica dust exposure during those operations. Workers downwind of sand mover and blender operations had the highest exposures.

Because respirable silica is a hazard common to many industries and industrial processes, NIOSH began in January 2010 to collect data regarding silica exposure at hydraulic fracturing operations.

Working with oil and gas industry partners, the institute sampled the air at 11 sites in five states where hydraulic fracturing operations were taking place.

NIOSH identified seven primary sources of silica dust exposure during those operations. Workers downwind of sand mover and blender operations, especially during hot loading, had the highest exposures.

Health Alert

The alert states that employers must ensure that workers are properly protected from overexposure to silica.

The alert describes how a combination of engineering controls, work practices, worker training, protective equipment and, where feasible, product substitution can protect workers who are exposed to silica.

Engineering controls and work practices provide the best protection, according to OSHA. Transporting, moving and refilling silica sand into and through sand movers, along transfer belts and into blender hoppers can release dust into the air containing up to 99 percent silica that workers breathe.

Workers who breathe silica day after day are at greater risk of developing silicosis, a disease in which lung tissue reacts to trapped silica particles, causing inflammation and scarring, and reducing the lungs' ability to take in oxygen, OSHA reports.

Silica also can cause lung cancer and has been linked to other diseases, such as tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney and autoimmune disease. OSHA launched a National Emphasis Program on Crystalline Silica in 2008.

‘Practical and Effective’

“The recommendations for protecting workers in the hazard alert are practical, evidence-based and effective solutions to help support the safe growth of American-made energy.” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D.

Kenny Jordan, executive director of the Association of Energy Service Companies, also applauded the action, saying: "We are proud of the development of an industry focus group in cooperation with those agencies which will further explore this issue, share best practices and continue to build upon the many engineering controls currently in place and those under development over the last several years.”

The fracking process

   

Tagged categories: Exposure conditions; Health and safety; NIOSH; Oil and Gas; OSHA; Silica

Comment from Mike McCloud, (6/29/2012, 8:13 AM)

I remember back in the old days when we blasted with silica, and then it got banned, I was always amazed that the material used to sand the roads in the winter came from the same mine as the sandblast grit. I have never seen a cloud of dust bigger than the ones behind a street sweeper in the spring.


Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (7/3/2012, 8:26 AM)

I hope the driver has some protection. However, the amount of exposure for passersby is dramatically different than a blaster. It should be something like a 1-5 minute exposure a couple of times a year from the street sweeper (even if you stand in the dust cloud instead of moving!) compared to 8-10 hours a day every working day for a blaster.


Comment from Car F., (7/5/2012, 10:48 AM)

"....in the old days when we blasted with silica, and then it got banned..." I may be wrong, but using silica sand IN THE OPEN is forbidden not the use silica sand in contained areas, please correct me if I'm wrong Car F


Comment from William Feliciano, (7/5/2012, 3:39 PM)

Many agencies have language in bridge blasting specifications whereby the abrasive used must contain less than 1 percent free silica by weight, or something like that. This is specified even if the work is being done within a containmnent.


Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Clemco Industries Corp.
Powerful Protection in a Small Package

Mounts inside blast helmet, alerts operator to dangerous breathing-air condition by audible, visual, and vibratory alarms. Easily calibrated, battery operated.


PaintSquare
SSPC 2014 Product Demos

Watch product demos by SSPC 2014 exhibitors. Check them out now!


Bullard

The Next Generation
of Blasting

• Lightest
• Coolest
• Most Comfortable
• Most Dependable


ABKaelin, LLC
Quality is our bottom line

Services include:
• Environmental, Health &
  Safety
• Contractor QP Certification
• Quality Assurance Programs
  and Auditing
• SSPC C3/C5 and other
  Training
• Coatings
• Design/Construction
See our website at abkaelin.com or contact us today abkaelin@comcast.com


Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox - One Step
Lead Abatement

Don't waste $$ on added labor steps with other methods. Don't mix, meter or apply at the job-site. Avoid strict hazardous waste rules.
Let your painters paint!


Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal

Strip it, clean it, and profile it,
all dust free! High production
rates and Blast like finishes.
Comply with new lead
standards.


DeHumidification Technologies
HUMIDITY PROBLEMS?

DH Tech has the most innovative and reliable equipment available to
control humidity efficiently
and effectively.
IT'S UNDER CONTROL!

 
 
 
Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design Paint BidTracker JPCL Europe

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us
 

© Copyright 2000-2014, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail webmaster@paintsquare.com