RCS • What is it? • Why should we be concerned about it? • Where might we be exposed to it? • What can we do about it? • Best practice • Monitoring
What is RCS? • RCS stands for respirable crystalline silica • Very basically this means silica dust that can get into the lungs • Silica is a mineral commonly found in high proportions in sand & gravel– however it’s not too easy to breathe it in is this natural form!
Why should we be concerned about it? • If silica dust is inhaled into the lungs it can stay there for many years • Silica dust in the lungs can cause silicosis – people with this are at increased risk of tuberculosis and lung cancer
Why should we be concerned about it? • It can also cause chronic,obstructive pulmonary disease – this can causes breathlessness, often with a cough • Because of these concerns the exposure level has recently been reduced to 0.1mg/m3
Where might we be exposed to it? • In it’s natural state within a damp aggregate it is unlikely that we can breathe in sufficient quantities to cause a problem • However when in a dust form – e.g. crushing, bagging, dried silt, cutting product, this may be hazardous
What can we do about it? - Plant • Minimise dust generation! e.g. • Damp down roads in dry conditions • Keep water sprays on crushers • Contain the dust in an area excluded to people, that can be cleaned/dampened before entry, e.g. • Housing around a crusher
What can we do about it? - Plant • Reduce exposure by filtering – e.g. ensure shovel air filters are maintained in a good condition • Ensure that drivers are aware of good practice and adhere to this – e.g. operate the shovel with the door closed and windows shut
What can we do about it? - Plant • Reduce exposure by extracting the dust by use of local exhaust ventilation (LEV) – make sure you keep these tested!
What can we do about it? - Plant • Finally, if all else fails & people still have the potential to be exposed to RCS then use suitable PPE, e.g. • Air stream helmets • Appropriate dust mask, correctly worn!
What can we do about it? - People • Carry out personal & plant dust monitoring & review the results • Carry out occupational health (OH) screening as recommended by our OH suppliers
Summary • RCS is a potential killer • Review the risk at your site from previous monitoring results • Minimise generation of dust • Minimise personal exposure • Review OH results