The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that” employees wear N95 masks when grinding and polishing hard materials like glass and stone to avoid breathing in particulate matter that can cause serious damage to the lungs”. Make sure to use your N95 mask at all times while working, even if you’re just dusting off your desk or sweeping the floor. Your lungs will thank you!
According to American Lung Association:” Approximately 2.3 million U.S. workers are exposed to silica in the workplace, including 2 million in construction and 300,000 in other industries”.
A common misconception about respiratory protection
A common misconception about respiratory protection is that it’s only necessary when using harmful chemicals or handling hazardous materials. While those types of conditions definitely necessitate respiratory protection, grinding and polishing can also create dust and debris that you don’t want in your lungs, so it’s important to always wear an N95 mask when grinding and polishing. The following are some of the more specific dangers posed by grinding and polishing without wearing your N95 mask, as well as some simple precautions you can take to protect yourself from these dangers.
When performing any sanding, grinding, or polishing activity, N95 mask can safe you from serious diseases
When it comes to working with wood, you’re bound to be doing quite a bit of sanding, grinding, and polishing. While these activities can be extremely useful in your quest to create the perfect piece of furniture or that table you’ve been dreaming about making, they can also take a serious toll on your health if you’re not wearing the proper protection for your face, neck, and mouth. One of the most important things to wear when performing any sanding, grinding, or polishing activity is your N95 mask.
Why is it so important ?
N95 respirators should be worn when grinding and polishing on your car or at the sanding station at the hardware store. Breathing in toxic fumes from harmful chemicals used in these processes can cause serious respiratory issues in the short-term and can be linked to lung cancer in the long-term
Serious illnesses, such as asthma and COPD would be caused by not wearing respirators
You may think that you can breathe in the dust and particles when grinding or polishing, but this isn’t true. If you take off your mask during the process, you risk breathing in dangerous fumes or particles that can cause lasting damage to your lungs and other organs. Many workers have developed serious illnesses, such as asthma and COPD, (“Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD makes breathing difficult for the 16 million Americans who have this disease.”)from not wearing the proper N95 masks while they work! So don’t forget your N95 mask! It’s necessary to wear one when grinding and polishing!
Why do you need to wear one when grinding and polishing?
1. To avoid breathing in particles that can damage your lungs.
2. To help prevent silicosis, which can lead to lung cancer.
3. To protect you from grinding-dust-induced asthma attacks or respiratory illnesses (e.g., bronchitis, emphysema).
What diseases can be easily caused by grinding and polishing without wearing masks
Respiratory diseases, including those caused by infectious agents (e.g., tuberculosis, influenza), respiratory irritants (e.g., airborne dust), and allergens (e.g., pollen). These diseases may result from exposure to grinding or polishing materials or vapors at concentrations sufficient for an appreciable period of time (i.e., one year or more) unless adequate protective measures are taken.
Which respirator is suitable for grinding and polishing
There are a number of respirators suitable for grinding and polishing operations, but it is important that you choose one that has an N95 rating. This rating ensures that it will protect against any metal or silica dusts that could be airborne while you are operating your business. Of course, be sure to always follow any manufacturer recommendations when using these products, so you can keep yourself safe while working in your shop.