Dry Ice Blasting, like all industry,carries a health and safety risk. The technology in the wrong hands however, can be potentially fatal. Listed below are some of the most dangerous aspects of dry ice blasting.
At -79 degrees Celsius the handling of Co2 has to be managed and trained. A tiny pellet falling into inappropriate gloves or clothing can cause frost bite. Not nice. Full training in gas handling is required by all Optimum staff.
Co2 is heavier than air. When in confined spaces the air must be controlled and gas monitors deployed. Co2 can soon build up unannounced. Air fed helmets are essential for this type of work along with training in confined spaces.
Being shot at 14bar (Mach 1) by dry ice pellets isn't a nice experience and could result in blinding if contact with the eyes is made. The image to the right was a dry ice blasting incident in the USA, where a poorly trained operative forgot to put the safety catch on the blast gun.
When 14bar of air pressure shoots through a 5mm nozzle the kick back is strong, similar to a firing gun. Unlike a firing gun however, the kick then stays…and stays…and stays. Tired arms make lots of mistakes and can easily move too far left or right of the workface, and damage intricate machinery or even damage other people. This is why we monitor ‘nozzle time’ when blasting at high pressure and switch operatives at regular intervals.
This isn't the cheeriest blog we've wrote but it is worth highlighting the dangers in our industry.
The amount of stories we hear of companies hiring or buying their own blast units then letting poorly trained staff loose on the technology, is mind blowing.
Certain industries and professions should be left to the professionals.
After all, you wouldn't buy a scalpel and attempt the brain surgery yourself!
By Ian Reynolds