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NIOSH Topic: Abrasive Blasting | CDC/NIOSH

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NIOSH Safety and Health Topic:

Abrasive Blasting
Abrasive blasting may have several hazards associated with it at any given time. Abrasive blasting is more Abrasive Blasting
commonly known as sandblasting since silica sand has been a commonly used material as the abrasive.
Abrasive blasting entails accelerating a grit of sand sized particles with compressed air to provide a stream of
high velocity particles used to clean metal objects such as steel structures or provide a texture to poured
concrete. This process typically produces a large amount of dust from the abrasive, anything on the substrate
being abraded, and/or the substrate itself. If it is not completely isolated from the operator, abrasive blasting
dusts are a very great health risk. Lead-based paint has been used on the steel infrastructure of bridges and
causes a hazard when disturbed. Cleaning steel while working from scaffolding introduces a fall risk and from
within industrial tanks a confined space risk. The abrasive stream itself can cause physical harm to the
operator or anyone close by. There are NIOSH guidelines and OSHA regulations addressing many aspects of
abrasive blasting including such things as proper airline length, and quality of breathing air provided to the
abrasive blasting respirator. There is much to know about abrasive blasting and the associated hazards in
order to consistently perform the task safely.

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NIOSHTIC-2 search results on Abrasive Blasting

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Related NIOSH Topics Related NIOSH Topics

NIOSH Resources
Beryllium
U.S. Governmental Resources
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Non-U.S. Governmental Resources

Confined Spaces

Construction

Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders

Falls from Elevation

Lead Poisoning

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Occupational Respiratory (Lung) Disease

Respiratory Protection

Silicosis

Tuberculosis (TB)

NIOSH Resources

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NIOSH Topic: Abrasive Blasting | CDC/NIOSH

The links to external web sites included below are provided for informational purposes only. Citation should not
be taken as endorsement by NIOSH of the web site content nor of the sponsoring organization.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning


Carbon Monoxide Hazards from Small Gasoline Powered Engines

● Laborer Dies of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning During Sandblasting Operations in Virginia


In-house FACE Investigative Report No. 1991-31

Criteria for Abrasive Blast Cleaning Operations

● Industrial Health and Safety Criteria for Abrasive Blast Cleaning Operations
HEW Publication No. (NIOSH) 75-122 (1975)

Engineering Control

● Abrasive Blasting Operations, Engineering Control and Work Practices Manual


HEW Publication No. (NIOSH) 76-179 (1976)

● Control Technology for Removing Lead-Based Paint from Steel Structures: Chemical Stripping
Survey Report No. ECTB 183-17a, June 1999 (14 pages, 328 KB)

● Control Technology for Removing Lead-Based Paint from Steel Structures: Abrasive Blasting using
Staurite XL in Containment
Survey Report No. ECTB 183-13a, July 1993 (21 pages, 531 KB)

● Control Technology for Removing Lead-Based Paint from Steel Structures: Abrasive Blasting using
Steel Grit with Recycling
Survey Report No. ECTB 183-12a, June 1993 (39 pages, 1,001 KB)

● Control Technology for Removing Lead-Based Paint from Steel Structures: Chemical Stripping using
Caustic (Peel Away ST-1)
Survey Report No. ECTB 183-15a, November 1994 (22 pages, 518 KB)

● Control Technology for Removing Lead-Based Paint from Steel Structures: Abrasive Blasting Inside
Two Ventilated Containment Systems
Survey Report No. ECTB 183-14a, December 1994 (9 pages, 202 KB)

● Control Technology for Removing Lead-Based Paint from Steel Structures: Power Tool Cleaning
Survey Report No. ECTB 183-16a, November 1995 (12 pages, 303 KB)

● Control Technology for Removing Lead-Based Paint from Steel Structures:


Survey Report No. ECTB 183-22, May 1999 (19 pages, 423 KB)

● Control Technology for Removing Lead-Based Paint from Steel Structures:


Survey Report No. ECTB 247-11, December 1999 (25 pages, 534 KB)

Falls From Elevations

● Painter/Sandblaster Dies Following a 30-foot Fall from Scaffolding Inside a Water Tank-South Carolina
In-house FACE Investigative Report No. 1993-15

● Preventing Worker Injuries and Deaths Caused by Falls From Suspension Scaffolds
DHHS NIOSH Publication No. 92-108 (August 1992)

Lead Poisoning

● Preventing Lead Poisoning in Construction Workers


DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 91-116a (April 1992)

● Protecting Workers Exposed to Lead-Based Paint Hazards, A Report to Congress


DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 98-112 (January 1997)

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

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NIOSH Topic: Abrasive Blasting | CDC/NIOSH

● Choosing Hearing Protection

Respiratory (Lung) Disease

● Silicosis

❍ Construction Workers: It's Not Just Dust!... Prevent Silicosis


DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-101

❍ Preventing Silicosis and Deaths in Construction Workers


DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 96-112 (1996)

❍ Preventing Silicosis and Deaths From Sandblasting


DHHS NIOSH Publication No. 92-102 (August 1992)

❍ Silicosis in Abrasive Blasting

❍ Silicosis: Learn the Facts!


DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-108

● Tuberculosis (TB)

Respiratory Protection

● Abrasive Blasting Respiratory Protective Practices


HEW Publication No. (NIOSH) 74-104 (1974)

● Respiratory Protection Programs

❍ NIOSH Respiratory Protection Certification Program: National Personal Protective Technology


Laboratory

Substitutes for Silica Sand Use

● Comparative Pulmonary Toxicity of Blasting Sand and Five Substitute Abrasive Blasting Agents
Porter DW, Hubbs AF, Robinson VA, Battelli LA, Greskevitch M, Barger M, Landsittel D, Jones W,
Castranova V. 2002. COMPARATIVE PULMONARY TOXICITY OF BLASTING SAND AND FIVE
SUBSTITUTE ABRASIVE BLASTING AGENTS. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part
A 65(16):1121-1140.
External link: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content?content=10.1080/152873902760125363

● Chemical Composition of Coal and Other Mineral Slags


Stettler LE, Donaldson HM, Grant GC. 1982. Chemical composition of coal and other mineral slags.
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal 43(4):235-238.
External link: http://oeh.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=0002-
8894&volume=43&issue=4&spage=235

● Comparison of Occupational Exposures Among Painters Using Three Alternative Blasting Abrasives
Meeker JD, Susi P, Pellegrino A. 2006. Case Study. Journal of Occupational and Environmental
Hygiene 3(9):80-84.
External link: http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1545-
9624&volume=3&issue=9&spage=D80

● Comparative Pulmonary Toxicity of 6 Abrasive Blasting Agents


Hubbs AF, Minhas NS, Jones W, Greskevitch M, Battelli LA, Porter DW, Goldsmith WT, Frazer D,
Landsittel DP, Ma JYC, Barger M, Hill K, Schwegler-Berry D, Robinson VA, and Castranova V.
Comparative Pulmonary Toxicity of 6 Abrasive Blasting Agents . Toxicol. Sci. 2001 61: 135-143.
External link: http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/61/1/135

● Abrasive Blasting Agents: Designing Studies to Evaluate Relative Risk


Hubbs A, Greskevitch M, Kuempel E, Suarez F, Toraason M. 2005. Abrasive Blasting Agents:
Designing Studies to Evaluate Relative Risk. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A
68(11):999-1016.
External link: http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1528-
7394&volume=68&issue=11&spage=999

● Substitute Materials for Silica Sand, Evaluation of Substitute Materials for Silica Sand in Abrasive
Blasting
This document contains the results from a contract that directed KTA-Tator, Inc. to conduct a three-
phase study for the purpose of investigating relative levels of 30 different health-related agents and

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NIOSH Topic: Abrasive Blasting | CDC/NIOSH

other attributes of surface preparation of the alternative abrasives to silica sand.

U.S. Governmental Resources

The links to external web sites included below are provided for informational purposes only. Citation should not
be taken as endorsement by NIOSH of the web site content nor of the sponsoring organization.

Abrasive Blaster Dies of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Bureau of Labor Statistics – Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities (IIF) program


External Link: http://www.bls.gov/iif/

Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health


External Link: http://www.cdc.gov/elcosh/

Inadvertent Connection of Air-line Respirators to Inert Gas Supplies: OSHA Safety and Information
Bulletin “Deaths Involving the Inadvertent Connection of Air-line Respirators to Inert Gas Supplies”
External link) http://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib042704.htm

OSHA Abrasive Blasting in Shipyard Employment


External link: http://www.osha.gov/dts/maritime/standards/guidance/shipyard_guidance.html

OSHA Respiratory Protection


External Link: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/respiratoryprotection/index.html

OSHA Safety and Health Topic, Lead


External Link: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/lead/index.html

OSHA Technical Link on Confined Spaces


External Link: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/confinedspaces/index.html

OSHA Technical Link on Falls


External Link: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html

OSHA Training Materials for Silicosis


External Link: http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/ote/trng-materials/silicosis/silicosis.html

U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration: “Safety and Health on Bridge
Repair, Renovation, and Demolition Projects”
External Link: http://www.tfhrc.gov/hnr20/bridge/repair/titlepg.htm

Non-U.S. Governmental Resources

The links to external web sites included below are provided for informational purposes only. Citation should not
be taken as endorsement by NIOSH of the web site content nor of the sponsoring organization.

A Review of Engineering Control Technology for Exposures Generated During Abrasive Blasting
Operations
Flynn MR, Susi P. 2004. A Review of Engineering Control Technology for Exposures Generated During
Abrasive Blasting Operations. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene 1(10):680-687.
External link: http://oeh.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1545-9624&volume=1&issue=10&spage=680

American National Standards Institute


External Link: http://www.ansi.org

The Center for Construction Research and Training (formerly the Center to Protect Workers’ Rights)
External link: http://www.cpwr.com

Control Technology for Crystalline Silica Exposures in Construction: Wet Abrasive Blasting
Mazzuckelli L, Golla V, Heitbrink W. 2004. Case Studies. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene 1
(3):26-32.

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NIOSH Topic: Abrasive Blasting | CDC/NIOSH

External link: http://oeh.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=1545-9624&volume=1&issue=3&spage=D26

Ergonomics of Abrasive Blasting: A Comparison of High Pressure Water and Steel Shot
Rosenberg B, Yuan L, Fulmer S. Ergonomics of Abrasive Blasting: A comparison of high pressure water and
steel shot, Applied ErgonomicsVolume 37, Issue 5, , September 2006, Pages 659-667.
External link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apergo.2005.05.014

Health and Safety Executive - COSHH Essentials in Construction: Silica


External Link: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/guidance/cn7.pdf

Laborer’s Health and Safety Fund of North America


External Link: http://www.lhsfna.org/index.cfm

Michigan State University - Abrasive Blasting, Preventing Silicosis


External Link: http://oem.msu.edu/blasting.asp

Mount Sinai-Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine – Guides for Managing
Lead and Silica Control Programs in Construction
External link: http:// www.blueprintproject.org/

The National Safety Council


External Link: http://www.nsc.org

Stop Silicosis in Sandblasters Use Silica Substitutes


New Jersey Occupational Health and Surveillance Program
External Link: http://www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/survweb/silicasub.shtml

WorkSafe Health & Safety Centre for Construction


External Link: http://construction.healthandsafetycenter.com/s/Home.asp

Page last modified: March 18, 2008


Page last reviewed: March 18, 2008
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

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