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SURFACE 2018

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COATINGSPRO SURFACE PREP 2018 9 media used by coatings contractors utilizing techniques to prepare the surface. For silica, OSHA reduced the permissi- ble exposure limit (PEL) to 50 μg/m³ (1.4 μg/ft.³) of air for an eight-hour shift, down from the prior limit of 100 μg/m³ (2.8 μg/ft.³). Meanwhile, for beryllium, the new PEL of 0.2 μg/m³ (0.006 μg/ft.³) as averaged over an eight-hour shift is significantly down from the 2.0 μg/m³ (0.06 μg/ft.³) standard used for decades. Both silica and beryllium have been shown to cause respiratory problems for workers who are not properly protected. "It will have a have a huge impact on abrasive blasting if the regulations stay as originally passed," said Russell Raad, president of Abrasives Inc., a North Dakota-based supplier of blast media. "ere's beryllium in basically all the blast- ing abrasives." ese new, more stringent regulations could have ripple effects throughout the surface preparation industry in 2018, including personal protective equipment (PPE) choices and the selection of equipment and materials used to complete jobs while remaining in compliance with the latest rules and standards. "W hat OSHA has done is they've gone to manufactur- ers that make machines that create airborne silica dust and they've said, 'you need to make sure your equipment helps minimize dust exposure,'" said Jason Stanczyk, marketing director at Equipment Development Co., Inc. (EDCO). "ey've put the onus on contractors as well to practice safe work methods and file the correct paperwork. ere's an expectation of contractors to have a written exposure plan." Safety Strategies W hile modifying equipment or materials can help contrac- tors with the compliance process, an overall safety plan often involves enhanced PPE, such as the use of type-CE supplied- air respirators approved by the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). "Ultimately, it's going to come down to additional educa- tion on PPE," said Raad, whose company sells PPE gear in addition to abrasives. "PPE is going to provide protection to the blasters, the employees, and things of that nature. Once [dust] gets somewhat airborne, any time you're asking to strip steel in an open environment, there are just some cases where you can't get away. You're going to add dilution to the air. But the PPE education and making sure people have proper PPE is going to be the most critical. ere will always be issues with dust to some degree, so how we take care of that person at the point of impact is critical." Besides respirators, other PPE that could be used during surface preparation include blast hoods, gloves, eye and ear protection, coveralls, hard hats, and boots. Depending on Succeed at Surface Prep Awa re n e s s o f s afe t y d u r i n g surface prep is crucial. Not only s h o u ld t h e co n t ra c to r wea r proper PPE for the task and job at hand, but the company should also be aware of new — and not so new — standards.

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