Reduce Respiratory Hazards



  • Crystalline silica is a major respiratory hazard before, during and after blasting activities, known to cause the lung disease silicosis.

  • When inhaled, silica dust causes scar tissue which reduces the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen.

  • Crystalline silica has been classified as a human carcinogen. 

  • Abrasive blasters, pot tenders, cleanup crews and adjacent workers can be affected.

  • Silica dust is created at any point where abrasives are transferred to trucks or machines, whether by hand or shovel.

  • Every year 2 million construction workers are exposed to silica dust.


  • Exposure via inhalation or skin contact withdust can cause beryllium sensitization, chronic beryllium disease (CBD), and lung cancer. 

  • CBD is a lung disease causing shortness of breath, unexplained coughing, fatigue, weight loss, fever, and night sweats

  • CBD can result in loss of quality of life and the potential for decreased life expectancy, chemical pneumonia and/or lung cancer. 

  • Workers can carry beryllium dust home on the clothing of workers, risking exposure of their family members.



Dry blasting generates huge clouds of silica containing dust. High pressure wet blasting methods, such as hydroblasting or the use of halo nozzles, disperse silica particles into other work areas, by either wind or water, (allowing them to eventually dry and become an airborne contaminant).


One obvious means to reduce generation of toxic dust and exposure to crystalline silica and beryllium particles: switch to wet abrasive vapor blast methods. Vapor blasting consumes only a fraction of the grit used in dry abrasive blasting. Lower grit media consumption means lower total dust and waste generation, thus ensuring significantly reduced airborne concentrations and assured compliance.

CleanerBlast machines are a great vapor blasting option. Each unit uses up to 90% less grit and generates up to 91.7% less dust & waste. Small volume vapor blasting pods (suitable to prepare or clean approximately the SAME sq. ft/hr. as comparable dry blast machines) are reloaded half, or less, often (depending on grit size),thus reducing exposure for grit handlers as well. Because spent grit may be directly collected in a blast bag or using a HEPA filtered wet vacuum, cleanup crew exposure is also significantly reduced.


Simplify Compliance



Old Crystalline Silica PEL 100 µg/m3 general industry / 250 µg/m3 construction and shipyards.

New Crystalline Silica PEL 50 µg/m3 for all industries (Half that of previous amount)

Action Level 25 µg/m3

Old Beryllium PEL 2.0 µg/m3

New Beryllium PEL 0.2 µg/m3 (10 times lower than previous amount)

STEL 2.0 μg/3 in any 15-minute sample period

  • Employers must implement to reduce and maintain exposure to silica to levels below PEL

  • Emphasis that the primary means of reducing exposure is though work practices

  • Mandatory written exposure control plan (ECP) for exposure above Action Levels

  • Dry sweeping, blowers, and dry brushing are prohibited.

  • Waste collection for wet methods must prevent dust from remaining in the work area from eventually drying and dispersing.


  • Air - Particulate control methods for blasting operations noted by the EPA include water-based and water aided blasting methods. Wet blasting controls include high-pressure water blasting, high-pressure water and abrasive blasting, and vapor abrasive blasting. Wet blasting control efficiencies are around 50%, for vapor abrasive blasting, around 93%.

  • Water -  ANY wastewater discharge requires an LPDES permit, including ambient uncontaminated water pumped in and out of a floating dry dock.

  • Land - By law, you must have your spent abrasive waste tested before dumping into any landfill.



All standards for degrees of cleaning (White Metal SSPC-SP5/NACE-1 to SSPC-SP7/NACE-4) are identical to that of dry abrasive blast, with one exception. Dry blast standards discuss required removal of visible rust back (re-rusting) that forms when dry blast cleaned steel is exposed to moisture, contamination, or a corrosive atmosphere. Wet blast standards define the extent of flash rust that is permitted to form on the surface prior to painting. 

Unlike dry blasting, CleanerBlast is well-suited for clog-free, static-free cleaning in a wide range of relative humidity. Unlike high-pressure wet blasting, CleanerBlast relies on high mass X low velocity (not brute high velocity) for force. Vapor-encapsulated grit propelled by low pressure does not disperse and readily encrust surfaces, but tends to drop via gravity to the workplace floor for easy containment and less contamination. CleanerBlast features a dedicated instant-rinse line that requires no purging and provides a means to remove any residual impurities after blasting with one machine, during one uninterrupted task.

CleanerBlast equipment is designed to blast clean and apply chemical additives (such as Chlor-Rid, Hold-Tight and OxNot CleanBlast)
 to stop flash rust simultaneously as you blast clean so that there is zero dwell or delay time - thus preventing flash rust to form during surface drying prior to coating, without resorting to secondary steps, like applying film-forming inhibitors or auxiliary equipment like dehumidifiers.


Some abrasive grits and substrates contain trace amounts of beryllium that often fall below the Final Rule limit of 0.1% beryllium content by weight for grit media. However, dry blasting operations can increase airborne concentrations of beryllium dust to above PEL (0.2 mg/m3). For example, coal slag containing a mere 4 ppm (0.0004 weight percent) used during dry blasting has been measured to result in airborne dust concentrations up to 9.5 μg/m3 (well above the 2.0 μg/m3 STEL).

In addition to crystalline silica and beryllium, dust originating from coating removal and high-velocity "shearing" of substrate can also comprise toxins like lead, asbestos and heavy metals.  During high-pressure, high-velocity blasting or hydrojetting, these toxins may be widely dispersed, requiring extensive PPE and environmental controls to minimize escape into the environment. Waste generated from these high-consumption methods introduces a second level of fugitive dust control, as process waste must be collected, tested and processed for disposal (further adding to the cost, complication and burden of compliance).








High-pressure dry abrasive and water cleaning equipment uses jet streams at a velocity greater than that of a 45-caliber bullet. Impact force at the substrate drops off with distance, so nozzles must be held as close as 5 to 25 cm from the surface. Unfortunately, the closer a worker's body is to the business end of high-pressure equipment, the more vulnerable workers are too serious injury. It only takes a second to cause serious lacerations and flesh wounds, shock, friction or electrical burns, internal injuries, or initiate infection from embedded debris particles or contaminated water driven into skin or wounds.

UHP wet jet equipment is even more hazardous. Air injection equipment used to give vaccines operate at 600 psi. UHP units operate at 20 to 40 times the psi. In 0.1 second, UHP equipment can sweep past an unprotected body part and cut skin and bone.

Such extreme injury hazards require extensive controls such as:

  • Kevlar body armor and/or full blast suit

  • Goggles worn under a full-face hooded helmet to protect eyes from dust and water seepage

  • Self-contained, powered, continuous supplied-air breathing apparatus to mitigate the tendency of flying debris, static-charged dust, or wet, sticky particles capable of clogging respirator filters.

  • At least two personnel - operator and a safety monitor in close visual (hand signal) communication with the operator

  • Prohibiting entry into radius within 100 feet of blasting activity


​High-pressure blast cleaning and wet-jetting methods subject operators to hand-arm vibration injuries due to the force of the abrasive or water moving through the hose and nozzle. Damage is exacerbated in cold temperatures, due to circulatory constriction. The amount of grip force used and the way a tool affects the amount of vibration energy entering the body, and the damage to joints, muscles, circulation and sensory nerves, such as;

  • Permanent nerve damage (white finger syndrome) and cell necrosis (affecting feeling, dexterity, and grip) - in as little as two years. 

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other ergonomic-related injuries


High velocity, high-pressure blasting methods, wet or dry:

  • are not suitable for overhead work due to the difficulty to position the body in a posture that can absorb and control reactive back thrust without risk of musculoskeletal damage.

  • physically stress the operator, affecting overall equipment control

  • require extensive PPE that results in heat-related illnesses when wearing it for long periods or working in hot environments.

​UHP wet jetting operators face even more risks​:

  • Operators must be physically strong and capable of withstanding a back thrust of at least 1/3 of their body weight

  • 90 to 95% of UHP hose ruptures at a close distance to the abdomen or neck can be fatal.

  • Abrasive blasters are subject to hand-arm vibration injuries due to the force of the abrasive moving through the blast hose and nozzle.


CleanerBlast reduces worker stress and fatigue.

  • Requires simple air-purifying respirators, less PPE and controls for non-abatement projects

  • Operates at low psi for minimal hose back-thrust and no vibration. 

  • Does not require additional monitoring personnel to operate

  • Low pressure prevents lacerations and embedding of grit

  • Decreases prohibited entry zone to as little as 15 feet

Improve Worker Safety