Sandblast is a process wherein a stream of sand is driven by a jet of compressed air or by water against a surface. This creates a powerful abrasive action that can clean and abrade any surface put under the jet of these abrasive particles.
Abundant materials such as powdered quartz, emery, and iron globules are usually used as the abrasive materials in sandblast. Sandblast is widely used for cleaning casting iron at foundries. Sandblast is also used for preparing different surfaces for painting, enameling and during galvanizing. Sandblast can also be used in cleaning stubborn grime that has accumulated in the stonework of most buildings.
Sandblast can also be used to create frosted designs on glass by placing a suitable stencil or pattern over a plate of glass and applied with a little sandblast. The jet of abrasive particles of the sandblast will strike the uncovered portions of the plate glass and create that frosted effect.
A sandblast operation can sometimes be a toxic undertaking. Sandblast operators can be exposed to several harmful particles such as lead or zinc that are important components of most commercial surface coatings.
Sandblast operators can also be exposed to the hazards of the abrasive particles being used. Without the proper safety equipment like goggles to cover the eyes and suitable protective clothing to shield against the flying particles, the sandblast operator and crew will be dangerously exposed to possible injury.
That is why there are several safety regulations to be followed before any sandblast operations.
Sandblast operators should use a standard issue air breathing apparatus while operating the machine. This will insure that the sandblast operator will have a steady supply of clean air supply amidst the workplace that will be filled with air contaminants during operation.
It is also important to consider that the hoses as well as the other equipment used to give the air supply to the sandblast operator should be able to deliver clean and contaminant-free air.
After operation, sandblast crew should only remove their air breathing apparatus when they are well away from the workplace. The sandblast particles can remain suspended in the air for long periods even after the operation.
It is also necessary for sandblast operators to wear coveralls that will provide suitable protection against rebounding abrasives during the operation of the sandblast.
Work gloves must also be used to protect the full forearm. Sand blast operators must also be able to wear the appropriate safety footwear.
It is also important to carry out the sandblasting operations in an area where the abrasive materials and other possible contaminants are safely contained and will poser no threat to other workers or to the public.
There are also some precautions that are to be observed when it comes to the sandblast machine. The sandblast pot where the abrasive particles are placed should be well grounded at all times.
It also must be provided with a safety shut down feature to further protect the sandblast operator. It is also important to remember to turn off the sandblast pot first while filling it with the abrasive particles to prevent accidents from happening.
The entire sandblast unit should be thoroughly inspected for possible defects before it is to be used. Sandblast nozzles should also be equipped with a safety control switch that will enable the operator to control the sandblast at the nozzle.
Following these simple tips will ensure the crew with a trouble-free sandblast operation.