Silica (silicon dioxide) is one of the most common elements on Earth. It can be found in two forms, crystalline and non-crystalline. Materials containing crystalline silica are non-hazardous unless agitated, such as by blasting, crushing, chipping and grinding, which can create tiny particles called respirable crystalline silica.

In bulk material handling, if a resulting silica dust particle is larger than 60 μm, it will be visible and settle rather swiftly. At less than 30 μm, it will not be visible unless reflecting light and will take a bit longer to settle.

When silica dust particles are less than 10 μm, they will stay airborne for up to several hours until gravity and electrostatic forces help them settle onto surfaces. Of greater importance, at this size they can easily enter the lungs, where they are even more toxic than coal dust.

Dust suppression systemTo illustrate just how poisonous it is, if we were to equally distribute 5.6 grams (the weight of a quarter) of respirable silica dust through the air in a large football stadium, a person breathing the air would be considered overexposed.

The challenge with bulk material handling is that it can continually re-suspend silica dust if a control plan is not in place. When breathed over time, it can cause conditions such as asthma, emphysema, silicosis (nodules and scarring in the lungs) and lung cancer.

Airborne silica dust can also lead to hazards such as slime (slips and falls), potential combustibility and compromised visibility at the plant.

For all of these reasons, OSHA and MSHA have developed silica dust safety regulations. Failure to comply can lead to OSHA and MSHA fines related to silica. In addition, beginning September 2020, performing a Dust Hazards Analysis (DHA) of how dust hazards are being lessened and managed will be a required safety practice.

The Solution: Benetech Silica Dust Containment and Suppression Systems

With so much at stake for both people and your business, having a proper dust control plan is crucial. Benetech specializes in silica dust suppression systems that help ensure a safer workplace as well as compliance in the event a regulatory agency requests a review or inspection. We can work with your plant to develop specific silica dust containment and suppression systems such as those needed for cement, stone, sand, gravel or asphalt.

For containment at the conveyor, our MaxZone® Modular Skirtboard and Belt Support System include the silica dust control items for increasing plant safety and compliance while reducing housekeeping time and material loss. Just a few features include:

  • Dust Tight Inspection-Doors with easy access to key areas for simple maintenance
  • XN Liner Sealing System with no-hassle clamps and seals on the sides of the load zone to contain respirable dust and eliminate spillage
  • Warrior Impact Bed with a stiff, rigid frame and soft rubber bars to cushion and absorb impact on the conveyor belt during loading
  • Warrior Roll & Guide Support Bed with low-friction slider bars on the wing section and rollers in the center to create a seamless seal against spillage and silica dust in the load zone
  • SureGuide Training Idler for instant correction of belt misalignment without special structural modifications

Efficient dust suppression further applies chemical-solution injections that reduce and even eliminate respirable dust. It also applies your own engineered system with premium support and technology. Our engineers can design, fabricate and install a custom solution for greater silica dust control from stockpiles to stackouts to transfer points.

Stop Silica Dust Starting Today

We know how important it is to you to maintain a safe, productive and compliant plant. We are here to support you with the silica dust control plan you need for your operation. Contact us at (630) 844-1300 to speak with a Benetech specialist.

Posted in Dust Control