Silica dust exposure is a significant risk in the oil and gas industry due to large amounts of frac sand used in hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Studies initiated by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) identified exposure to crystalline silica during hydraulic fracturing as the most significant known health hazard to workers. There may also be concerns for the health of those living close to fracking sites, which are generally in rural areas.
Crystalline silica, in the form of frac sand, is used to hold open the fissures in the rocks during hydraulic fracking operations. Hundreds of kilograms of sand are transported, moved, and refilled at fracking sites. These processes generate dust that contains respirable silica which can cause silicosis and lung cancer.
The use of hydraulic fracking has significantly increased, especially in the U.S. and Canada, in the last 15 years due to advances in drilling technologies. There is a growing need for a supply of effective dust control solutions during fracking to ensure dust emissions meet the industry’s permissible exposure levels.
While hydraulic fracking can be hazardous, it can be done safely. Mideco’s Burnley® Baffles will assist with suppressing dust during transporting, moving, and refilling silica sand into and through sand movers, along with transfer belts, and into blender hoppers. Bat Booth® will reduce the overall silica exposure by permanently removing dust from the staff’s clothing. This unique personnel de-dusting device is equipped with powerful HEPA filters that can capture even the smallest dust particles such as silica.