“There has been an average of one fatality every 12 months in the stonework sector. Demand for stonemasonry has reflected the increase in deaths and injuries.” According to safe Workers
Stonemasons who work with concrete and stone are at risk of suffering from occupational lung disease, which can be fatal if left untreated. For this reason, it’s important to know how to keep stonemasons safe from respiratory disease and other hazards common in the industry. While there’s no way to completely eliminate the risk of silicosis and similar conditions, you can greatly reduce your chances of getting sick by wearing an N95 mask that filters out 95% of airborne particles as you work with concrete and stone materials.
What risks do stonemasons face in their work?
Lung disease—specifically, silicosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)—are on that list. These respiratory diseases can be debilitating, but stonemasons who use proper protection and follow good safety practices can protect themselves. If you’re a stonemason or work in construction, it’s essential that you know how to avoid respiratory illness. Use these tips
How Stonemasons Can Protect Themselves from Dust and Silica with an N95 Mask
If you’re a stonemason, it’s important that you take every precaution to protect yourself from dust and silica. In some cases, you might also have to protect yourself from respiratory disease such as asthma and COPD. Here are a few steps for protecting yourself: Use an N95 mask: Though it may be inconvenient, using an N95 mask will help reduce your risk of inhaling dust or silica particles.
What Should We Wear?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that stonemasons wear dust masks when cutting or sawing stone. (Respirators are also available for more extreme circumstances.) If you’re working on a large stone, you should also wear safety goggles so debris doesn’t get in your eyes. Also, if you do find yourself with respiratory issues—coughing, wheezing or chest pain—you should see a doctor right away. Untreated asthma can lead to pulmonary hypertension, which can be fatal. COPD is incurable and only gets worse over time; it’s best to seek treatment as soon as possible. Finally, if you think there might be silica in your work environment, consider wearing a respirator. Silicosis is an irreversible lung disease caused by inhaling silica particles; symptoms include shortness of breath and fever. While you won’t feel any symptoms at first, years of exposure will eventually lead to scarring of your lungs and lung cancer. Again: Wear those masks!
The Importance of Wearing an N95 Mask for Stonemasons
What Makes Dust and Silica so Dangerous? It’s bad enough that stonemasons spend their days working with materials like stone, wood, metal, and clay—but for many workers, there’s another occupational hazard lurking in every day: dust. While not all dust is harmful (in fact, some is actually beneficial), your average construction site has plenty of bad dust hiding in it. Chief among these dangerous particles is silica.
Stonemasons and other workers exposed to high levels of silica dust are at risk of developing silicosis, an incurable lung disease that damages the lungs and restricts breathing capacity. This N95 mask can reduce your exposure to harmful silica dust by up to 95%, preventing you from developing debilitating respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, emphysema, and cancerous lesions in the lungs.
Dust and silica are two elements associated with stonemasons, and both can cause a range of different respiratory illnesses. While they can easily be avoided by wearing personal protective equipment, many masons fail to take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety on the job site. What extra precautions should they take to keep themselves safe and healthy in the workplace?