Safety Guidelines – Questions and Answers
Worker safety is paramount at The BARTON Group. Here, I answer the most frequently asked questions as they relate to the Health, Safety and Environmental aspects of our suite of garnet product offerings and the best practices for ensuring occupational safety for your workers.
We kept it simple by dividing the FAQ into two sections. The first section addresses the product safety aspects of our garnet abrasives. The second section recommends housekeeping best-practices for keeping your work environment safe for everyone.
Director of Health, Safety and Environmental
BARTON abrasive products are subject to OSHA Hazard Communication regulations (29CFR 1910.1200) and are compliant with Global Harmonized System (GHS) standards.
Product Safety Data Sheets (SDS) include information relating to properties of the abrasive; the physical, health and environmental health hazards; protective measures; and safety precautions for handling, storing and transporting the abrasive. Safety Data Sheets can be downloaded from our document library.
BARTON has completed a Hazard Classification Study with the assistance of a PhD-educated safety consultant who specializes in industrial hygiene exposure assessments. The results of the study confirm our garnet products’ respirable quartz (less than 10 microns) fraction to be less than 0.1%. The industrial hygiene exposure assessments conducted during the Hazard Classification Study confirmed non-detectable levels of respirable quartz under normal use conditions. Normal uses of our garnet abrasives include but are not limited to: proper handling and storage, waterjet cutting, dry abrasive blasting, vapor abrasive blasting and cleanup using wet methods and/or vacuuming of residual or spilled materials. The combination of the product’s respirable quartz content and industrial hygiene study results, as reviewed by an independent PhD, provided BARTON with an effective date to accurately assign the proper labeling of our products with a comprehensive study to support such labeling.
Why do some suppliers’ garnet abrasive safety data sheets (SDS) say “Danger: May Cause Cancer” while other say nothing at all about quartz?
BARTON completed the due diligence regarding the proper hazard classification for our garnet abrasives and had a third-party expert lead a scientific Hazard Classification Study. Not all garnet abrasives are the same, nor have all garnet abrasives suppliers undertaken the same rigorous assessment to accurately classify the hazards with their products. We encourage you to develop a relationship with all your suppliers so that you are in the best position to ensure the health and safety of your employees.
Quartz is comprised of silicon and oxygen the second most abundant mineral found on earth. The size of the quartz particle determines the inhalation hazard. For example, quartz crystals that are larger than 10 microns pose little inhalation hazard. In our case, this is described as “Total Quartz” within our SDS. As OSHA points out, as well as the NIOSH and ACGIH, it is the respirable crystalline silica fraction that poses the true inhalation health hazard. BARTON has confirmed that the respirable quartz fraction contained within our garnet abrasives is less than 0.1%.
During our Hazard Classification Study, we studied the potential liberation of respirable quartz from total quartz under normal uses of our products. The normal uses include proper handling, waterjet cutting, dry abrasive blasting. In each case during this study, we did not see where respirable quartz was liberated at detectable levels.
What industrial hygiene method did you use during the Hazard Classification Study to assess exposures?
We followed NIOSH Method 7500 and used accredited laboratories for determining the crystalline quartz exposure concentrations.
What method was used for determining the total and respirable quartz fractions contained within your garnet abrasive products?
We employed an accredited laboratory that used similar analytical techniques that are a part of NIOSH Method 7500. Specifically, these techniques are X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The laboratory has developed a specialized approach that can classify quartz particles based upon respective diameters (microns). This information has allowed us to report on total and respirable (<10 microns) quartz fractions.
As with any material, housekeeping is paramount to reducing potential employee exposures to any type of dust. During our Hazard Classification Study, we did find a relationship between extremely poor housekeeping conditions and the ability to detect respirable quartz. Although these exposures did not exceed the OSHA PEL, the levels were detectable by NIOSH Method 7500 when housekeeping was poor. As a reminder, with all dust, wet methods and/or vacuuming of dusts are the best ways to prevent the suspension of dust particles in the air.
Yes. Although BARTON garnet abrasives are considered non-hazardous during normal use and routine cleanup activities, your employees need to understand the proper safe handling measures and work practices when working with any and all materials. This is not limited to garnet abrasives.
Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for BARTON abrasives can be downloaded from our library.
Customers know them as bulk bags or super sacks, but in the packaging industry, our 2,200LB and 4,400LB packages are called flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCAs). Worker safety is our priority, and we advise you to follow the safe handling guidelines developed by the Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association (FIBCA).
Some key points for safely handling FIBCs purchased from BARTON using a forklift, crane or hoist are summarized below.
- Adhere to the FIBC manufacturer’s recommendations printed on the label and observe all applicable regulatory and safety requirements.
- Ensure all employees are properly trained in the safe handling procedures as outlined in FIBCA guidelines.
- Devices used to handle FIBCs must be designed for FIBCs, have safety latches, be rated for the capacity of the filled FIBC and adhere to approved handling methods.
- Ensure all forklift tines, crane hooks, bars or handling devices used for lifting are free of sharp edges or protrusions. Edges must be rounded to at least the thickness of the lift loops used to support the FIBC. The radius must be a minimum of 5 mm.
- Adjust the distance between the forklift tines to the correct width to ensure all lift loops are vertical to prevent damaging lateral forces.
- Ensure the FIBC is appropriate for the emptying environment regarding electrostatic concerns in flammable or explosive environments. It is critical to take precautions against the risk of electrostatic discharge when emptying products with certain ignition properties or in explosive atmospheres. Please refer to the product Technical Data Sheet in our document library for conductivity and electrostatic properties.
- Take appropriate measures with regards to dust control.
- Before handling, ensure that the FIBC is free from any damage that would compromise its strength.
- All personnel must be safely clear of any potential hazards when lifting, handling or emptying an FIBC.
- Maintain a clear line of sight when moving an FIBC; never move an FIBC if your line of sight is blocked.
- When handling by forklift, hold the FIBC close to the mast, as low as possible with the mast tilted back to an appropriate angle.
- Keep the FIBC clear of the floor so there is no contact with the ground or the wheels of the forklift. Never drag or push an FIBC.
- Never tilt the mast of a forklift forward when handling an FIBC.
- Never suspend a FIBC using fewer lift loops than provided.
- Never gather loops to lift with one hook, unless the FIBC is specifically designed and approved by the manufacturer to do so.
- Never allow personnel to stand or place any part of their body under a suspended FIBC.
A PDF of the FIBC Safe Handling Guidelines (Version 2.0, updated July 2017) can be downloaded from our document library.
For more safe handling guidelines and educational resources, please visit www.fibca.com.
BARTON garnet is one of the safest abrasive alternatives on the market. Garnet offers little to no risk of exposure to quartz and/or heavy metals. Garnet is a naturally occurring mineral and contains zero residual hazardous materials. Garnet abrasives generate little to no dust and are environmentally friendly in its purest product form.
As an employer, you are responsible for assessing the risks that your employees may be exposed to under normal and non-routine/emergency conditions. It is recommended that industrial hygiene-exposure assessments be conducted periodically when working with garnet abrasives to define the appropriate safe work instructions. The results of these hygiene exposure assessments should be evaluated against published personal exposure levels (PELs) to determine the appropriate personal protective equipment and engineering controls, and to document regulatory compliance.
As an employer, you should always be prepared for an inspection by OSHA or any other regulatory agencies. As such, it is critical to perform the necessary risk and exposure assessments. You should be prepared to provide documentation that you have trained your employees on their Right-To-Know (Hazard Communication) and have the most current SDS available. You should also be in position to justify the required PPE for the tasks they are performing and the materials they are working with.
Good housekeeping is critical to ensure there is no bias during the sampling event. If you have exposure-monitoring data for the tasks or areas that OSHA wishes to assess, then you should have your historical data readily available. If no exposure-monitoring data exists, it is advisable that you hire a third-party industrial hygienist to replicate the industrial hygiene study that OSHA is undertaking.
Prior to disposing of spent garnet, please review applicable local, state and federal regulations. Although BARTON abrasives are classified as non-hazardous, it is the responsibility of the waste generator to ensure that spent materials are disposed in accordance with applicable solid waste regulations. Depending on the waste generation process, additional testing (i.e. Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure, or TCLP) may be required to accurately assess the proper waste classification.
About the Author
Mario Cangemi is The BARTON Group’s Director of Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE). With over 20 years of HSE experience, Mario brings data-driven, Lean/Six Sigma methods to reducing workplace risk exposures. The proactive approach to his HSE oversight guides a culture based on Human Performance Improvement safety-error reduction. Mario believes workplace accidents and illnesses are preventable, and that we owe it our families to be safe, productive employers and employees. A member of our Supply Chain/Product Stewardship Team, Mario is committed to ensuring BARTON product attributes meet or exceed international health, safety and environmental specifications.