OSHA announced a new regulation for controlling silica dust that recently went into effect for the construction industry. Silica, which is a mineral found in stone, sand, and soil can cause serious health issues when inhaled.
So where might you encounter silica dust on the job site? Silica dust is released while using a jackhammer, saw, or other tools to cut, chip, or break stone, brick, or concrete. Workers who inhale these silica particles are at increased risk of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and Silicosis.
When Is OSHA’s Silica Dust Regulation Effective?
The regulation is already in effect, as of June 23, 2016. It requires the construction industry to comply by September 23, 2017, with general industry/maritime and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) industries to comply by June of 2018, and June of 2021 respectively.
OSHA Silica Dust Recommendations for Jackhammer Use
OSHA recommends using wet methods to aid in controlling dust exposure. In the past, a helper would use a garden hose with a nozzle attached and manually spray the work area while another construction worker operated the jackhammer. This method, while effective, is expensive, cumbersome, and inefficient.
What you really need is a retrofit kit for each jackhammer in your crew. There are two common methods for obtaining a retrofit kit, but only one of them protects you for the long haul.
OSHA: Controlling Silica Dust
Build-Your-Own Retrofit Kit
Another option is to build your own retrofit kit. There are plans available online that detail how to build a retrofit kit to attach directly to a jackhammer. But these kits are made from consumer-grade materials and do not hold up well to heavy and repeated use on an industrial construction site. They will wear down quickly, becoming ineffective at their sole job - protecting you and your crew from silica dust exposure.
Industrial-Grade Retrofit Kit from Hose Experts
By far the safest and most effective option is to use an industrial-grade retrofit kit made specifically for this task. Parker developed the 7084 Twinhammer series air/water jackhammer hose assemblies specifically for this new OSHA standard. The Twinhammer series features a twin hose that combines a ¾” air compressor hose along with a ⅜” water hose that is chemically bonded together, giving you a pre-packaged assembly to attach directly to your jackhammer. The kit includes one Twinhammer hose assembly, adapters, spray nozzle, ¼ turn ball valve, and even the velcro straps that attach the assembly to the jackhammer.
You can obtain the Parker Twinhammer retrofit kit from your local Parker Hose & Fittings store. Your trusted hose expert will make sure you leave with the highest quality product available on the market and get you back to work!
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Read more from OSHA on the dangers posed by silica dust to your health and the health of your crew.