Fools Gold: Gold Mine Workers with Silicosis and Dust Collector Prevention

Posted by Diversitech News on Mar 21, 2024 9:31:49 AM


"There’s gold in them thar hills.”

Famous words that were coined by Mark Twain, in his 1892 novel, “The American Claimant.” The words were inspired by someone during the 1849 Gold Rush.

Fast-forward to today, we’re still trying to strike it rich by digging for gold. The location is the Cadia gold mine near Orange in central west NSW.

Throughout history, there is probably nothing more alluring than gold. Oil, another famous millionaire-maker, is called “liquid gold.” When a person spots a nugget of gold in the ground, I wouldn’t doubt that their pupils practically transform into dollar signs, their heart pumps out of their chest, and images of magnificent wealth race through their mind. It must be an intoxicating experience to see such a thing.

But two workers, digging for the mining giant, Newmont, have recently received the worst kind of news they could hear. The processes they have executed in the course of their daily work routines have exposed them to silica dust. Both men now have silicosis.

Tiny White Spots…Silicosis

Even to hard working men with rough hands, hard hats, and steel-toe boots, silicosis is scary.

The first sign of the horrible condition is tiny white spots on a person’s lungs. These white spots are the first indication of exposure to silica and the first sign that the person may develop full-blown silicosis.

Silicosis is a severe lung disease caused by prolonged exposure to crystalline silica dust, commonly found in materials like sand, quartz, and various types of rock or mineral ores. The condition poses significant health risks due to its progressive nature and irreversible lung damage. Over time, silica particles embed themselves in lung tissue, leading to inflammation and scarring that impairs the lungs' ability to function properly.

This damage can result in chronic respiratory symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Furthermore, silicosis increases the risk of developing other serious lung conditions, including tuberculosis, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The scariest thing about silicosis is that there is currently no cure for the condition. Treatment focuses on symptom management and preventing further lung damage. This stark reality has to make the quest for gold feel more like fool’s gold. These miners needed protection from the dangers that hide in clouds of dust.

Silicosis Looms Large in Many Industries

Still, silicosis is not just a problem for miners. Silica dust is also a common occupational hazard in industries that include quarrying, fracking, construction, and general manufacturing. The problem with workers getting silicosis is not only the fact that nothing can be done to cure the disease once it’s contracted, but the fact that, in most cases, it is preventable.

Where They Fail, We Prevail

Absolent Air Care Group is in the business of protecting the health and safety of workers as well as tools, equipment, and facilities with our line of dry and wet dust collector solutions.

For instance, masonry, one of humanity's oldest construction methods, involves the assembly of structures using materials like brick, concrete, stone, or tile, bonded with mortar. Meanwhile, the stone industry focuses on crafting countertops, fireplaces, and various stone fixtures for residential and commercial spaces.

Both sectors engage in activities such as cutting, grinding, milling, drilling, chipping, and polishing of stone, concrete, and brick, generating significant amounts of dust that poses serious health risks to workers if inhaled. These materials contain crystalline silica.

Chronic silicosis is most prevalent and typically manifests after a decade of exposure, while acute silicosis can prove fatal following months of intense exposure. Common materials containing silica include concrete, asphalt, granite, brick, ceramic tile, mortar, sand, slate, terrazzo, and roof tiles.

If your business performs manufacturing activities with these kinds of materials then you should ensure that your workers are protected and safe. Preventative measures are easy to take when you’ve got the right tools for the job. That’s why Diversitech’s wide selection of downdraft tables, portable fume extractors, and wet dust collector solutions are trusted by businesses all over the world.

Filterhawk Cartridge Dust Collector

The Filterhawk FH-04 Cartridge Dust Collector efficiently traps airborne contaminants to maintain a cleaner air environment within industrial facilities.

Its robust construction, crafted from durable, heavy-duty, powder-coated steel, ensures resilience even during continuous operation in industrial settings.

The Fliterhawk dust collector features a vertical filter design coupled with a reverse pulse cleaning system. This dust collector effectively separates dust from filters. Additionally, integrated baffles beneath prevent dust re-entrainment, enhancing the cost-effectiveness of the filter system in terms of operation and maintenance. Each filter cartridge benefits from a potent turbo-nozzle, enabling individual pulse-cleaning to dislodge the maximum amount of material.

This dust collector solution is equipped with four powerful dust-collecting cartridges. The Filterhawk FH-04 stands ready to optimize air quality in your facility.

Learn more about Filterhawk Cartridge Dust Collector

Typhoon WX-5000 Wet Dust Collector

If you are performing applications that include grinding & deburring, sanding & finishing, and rubber grinding materials that include rubber grinding, Aircraft MRO, aluminum, titanium, magnesium, and other combustible materials, then you may need a wet dust collector.

Diversitech's Typhoon WX-5000 Wet Dust Collector effectively eliminates the risk of workplace fires or explosions by extracting explosive metal dust and other combustible materials from plant air.

Specifically engineered for the aerospace industry, the Typhoon WX-5000 dust collector is adept at removing volatile substances commonly encountered in this sector. Powered by a 10HP blower, it draws in airborne contaminants and passes them through Diversitech's unique "water-tree" baffle design, where suspended water droplets capture and bond with the particles.

These bonded particles then safely drain to the bottom of the collector for removal. With the capability to capture airborne particulates as small as 3 microns at the source, the Typhoon WX-5000 ensures a cleaner industrial environment.

Additionally, the collector can be directly ducted into industrial machinery like wide belt sanders to extract combustible dust right from the source. Constructed with durable stainless steel, all of Diversitech's wet dust collectors guarantee years of reliable service for your equipment needs.

Learn more about Typhoon WX-5000 Wet Dust Collector

Prevention through workplace safety measures is crucial, as silicosis primarily affects individuals in industries where silica dust is generated, such as mining, construction, and manufacturing. Overall, silicosis represents a significant occupational hazard and underscores the importance of stringent safety regulations and protective measures, such as dust collection, to safeguard workers' health.

Diversitech’s range of dry and wet dust collector solutions are the preventative measure that every company should take.

Schedule a call to discuss your needs with an expert today


Topics: Dust Collectors, dust collection, silicosis, silica dust, occupational hazards