An evaluation of on-tool shrouds for controlling respirable crystalline silica in restoration stone work.Ann Occup Hyg. 2014 Nov; 58(9):1155-67.AO
The task of grinding sandstone with a 5-inch angle grinder is a major source of exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS), known to cause diseases such as silicosis and lung cancer among workers who work with these materials. A shroud may be a suitable engineering control for this task. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effectiveness of four commercially available shrouds at reducing respirable dust and RCS levels during the task of grinding sandstone using tools and accessories typical of restoration stone work.
The task of grinding sandstone with a 5-inch angle grinder, equipped with different grinding wheels, was carried out over three trials at a restoration stone masonry site. Photometric and RCS data were collected when a 5-inch grinder, equipped with different grinding wheels, was used to grind sandstone with and without a shroud. A total of 24 short duration samples were collected for each no shroud and with shroud combination. Worker feedback on the practicalities of each shroud evaluated was also collected.
Respirable dust concentrations and RCS were both significantly lower (P < 0.001) when the grinders were equipped with a shroud compared with grinders without a shroud. Total geometric mean (GM) photometric respirable dust levels measured when grinding with a shroud were 0.5 mg m(-3), a reduction of 92% compared to grinding without a shroud (7.1 mg m(-3)). The overall GM RCS concentrations were reduced by the use of a shroud by 99%. GM photometric exposure levels were highest when using the Hilti 5-inch diamond grinding cup and Diamond turbo cup and lowest when using the Corundum grinding point.
Concentrations of respirable dust and RCS can be significantly reduced by using commercially available shrouds while grinding sandstone with a 5-inch angle grinder in restoration stonework. The short-term photometric respirable dust and RCS measurements collected with and without a shroud indicate that dust and RCS concentrations are reduced by between 90 and 99%. Supplemental exposure controls such as respiratory protective equipment would be required to reduce worker 8-h time-weighted average RCS exposure to below the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits recommended occupational exposure limit value of 0.05 mg m(-3) and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists threshold limit value of 0.025 mg m(-3).