Critical abrasive blasting safety precautions
By Painters USA Team
— Last updated December 04, 2022
Abrasive blasting, still commonly called sandblasting, is a great way to clean, shape, and make a surface either smoother or rougher as needed.
It’s also a great way to damage property and harm people, which is why every abrasive blasting project must be taken seriously:
- The work should be done by trained and experienced crews.
- The equipment must be in good operating order.
- The blasting work area must be properly isolated.
- Equipment and other property in the vicinity must be moved or shielded.
- Workers who do the blasting or may be in the vicinity must be well-protected.
Abrasive blasting is part of many of the industrial projects we do, as it delivers fast and effective results for heavy-duty cleaning and surface preparation needs. Before we begin any project that includes abrasive blasting, we provide our clients with copies of our Surface Blasting Safety Precaution cue card to ensure they understand the potential hazards and risks. and how to prevent them.
It also communicates the precautions we take to prevent these hazards and risks, which include property damage, fires and explosions, and bodily injury.
Contractor role in performing abrasive blasting work
Painters USA incorporates a series of tasks and precautions before, during, and after any abrasive blasting project to ensure safety and optimal results.
- Identifying and recommending the most suitable blasting material or medium.
- Allocating adequate prep time to erect barriers and other protections.
- Scheduling the work, if possible, during downtime or off-peak hours when no other people will be present in the facility.
- Restricting access to clearly marked areas that cannot be crossed without authorization.
- Issuing blasting-specific PPE for our crews and advising the client on PPE for their workers who may be in the vicinity as the work is performed.
- For exterior projects, communicating and rescheduling if needed in the event of high winds and other inclement weather.
- Containing, collecting, and cleaning up blasting debris as agreed upon.
- Thorough cleanup of work area in accordance with applicable regulations and for full return-to-service expectations.
- Removal of all blasting equipment, barriers, and protective coverings to meet return-to-service expectations.
Your role in having abrasive blasting done at your facility
- Share special planning needs or questions in advance, including your own safety requirements.
- Provide daily work permits on a timely basis so as not to impede production.
- Ensure that your employees in the vicinity during blasting operations have proper PPE and do not enter the designated blast area.
- Communicate in advance with all people who may be affected, including neighboring entities if the project involves exterior work.
Why this matters
As already mentioned, abrasive blasting can cause fire and/or explosions, inflict serious, unwanted damage to surrounding property through extended reach of the sprayed material, and seriously injure people who do the work or are in the vicinity as the blasting is performed.
Culprits that lead to abrasive blasting hazards and safety incidents
- Poorly trained and inexperienced blasting crews.
- Inadequate PPE.
- Poorly maintained equipment.
- Falls from scaffolding and confined space incidents.
- Inadequate time to set up barriers and other protective measures.
- Lack of communication with stakeholders and affected parties.
Painters USA works closely with our clients to reduce and eliminate these preventable risks, and we recommend that any business in need abrasive blasting services ensure that they find a contractor that takes this work as seriously as we do.
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