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Wetblasting Does Not Eliminate Inhalation Hazards

Posted by Clemco Industries October E-Update on

Wearing a Compliant Supplied-Air Respirator Is Mandatory

                             

Clemco has seen renewed interest in wetblasting for surface preparation and cleaning. This process, also known as vapor and dustless blasting, suppresses dust in blasting operations by mixing abrasive with a small amount of water. However, Clemco Director of Product Safety Tom Enger reminds employers that “contrary to common misconceptions, dust suppression in wetblasting does not eliminate inhalation hazards.”

In fact, OSHA regulations require that unless employers can prove through testing that their employees’ exposure to inhalation hazards is below permissible exposure limits (PELs), wetblast operators must wear Type 19CE supplied-air respirators (SARs), which are the same type of SARs required for dry blasting. OSHA has recognized Clemco’s Apollo 600 and Apollo 20 SARs as having an assigned protection factor (APF) 1,000 times the PEL, making these SARs excellent choices for wetblast operations. For more information about OSHA regulations on this topic, seeOSHA’s standard interpretations for 1910.94(a) and 1926.57(f).

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Advatages of Wetblasting and Wetblasting Options

“Though when safely practiced,” Enger says, “wetblasting has three key advantages over dry blasting. It increases operator visibility, eases containment, and reduces the ‘zone of influence’ where hazardous dust may circulate.”
Clemco carries four wetblast options, which offer these advantages:

  • Wetblast FLEX™—A complete wetblast system mounted on a portable,
    steel-framed skid
  • Wetblast Injector—Converts a dry blast machine to a wetblast machine
  • Wetblast Attachment—For jobs with lower dust output
  • Power Gun H2O—Handheld suction wetblast tool