How do we make construction and maintenance around school areas as safe as possible for children? In recent decades, new medical studies have proven the harmful long-term effects of being exposed to sand from traditional sandblasting methods, and the damaging effects manifest even more strongly in children and the elderly, who are particularly susceptible; this is unfortunate, as sandblasting is a process that many schools utilise in order to remove paint and gunk from old concrete surfaces without damaging the material itself. One option is to only perform the process while the school is closed, but even then, there are studies that show that particles remain in the air long after the job is done.
Thankfully, dustless blasting is now an option. This unique method utilises non-traditional blasting media such as plastic, glass beads, and other options that don’t produce harmful dust. Dominic from Bare All Blasting had the following to say: “Dustless blasting is a lot safer than traditional sand blasting thanks to the fact that it doesn’t produce harmful dust particles that can get into the lungs. With traditional blasting, silicates can build up in the lungs and damage the lung membrane, and children are particularly susceptible to the effects.”
It’s crucial that schools around the country protect children from health issues. It’s not only a liability for administrators, but it also puts the long-term health of student at risk. If your school is currently undergoing extended maintenance, it is wise to investigate the safest ways to get work done. When in doubt, consult your contractors and ask them if there are any alternatives that would be safer to use around a school. This applies to everything from construction to pest control.
Patricia Fields, a medical professional in the Sydney area, advised us on the long-term effects of sandblasting, “When working with certain media, such as silica sand, sand blasting can leave a lasting impact on a child’s health,” She explained, “It can cause a medical issue known as silicosis, as well as lung cancer and respiratory issues in the long and short-term.”
According to the OSHA Fact Sheet, it is important to not only protect workers from the hazards of abrasive blasting materials, but also anyone who will be near the property, “Another important thing to note is that the high levels of noise generated by construction can also damage hearing in children without much aggravation.
It is our responsibility to create a safe environment for our young people to learn in, and that starts with minimizing any risks to their health.
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