IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Selection of abrasives, acceptability of silica substitutes, and adoption of preventive measures during abrasive blasting


The results of this comprehensive tripartite Québec-wide study indicate that siliceous abrasives, responsible for several cases of blasting-related silicosis, dominate the abrasive market by a wide margin, as they are markedly less expensive than alternatives. Although the adoption of non-recyclable substitutes would not engender any additional direct or indirect conversion costs, users indicated that they would not voluntarily adopt these less toxic substitutes as long as their competitors continued to use siliceous abrasives.

Analysis of 12 workplaces shed light on workers' beliefs about preventive behaviours during abrasive blasting: 84% of users saw no link between abrasive blasting and silicosis. Reflecting this finding, many workers adopt high-risk behaviours which they nevertheless believe to be safe. In all, 56.9% of the 187 respondents thought that elimination of siliceous products would have no economic effect on their company. The authors conclude that the elimination of these products is best way to effect source reduction of the risk of developing silicosis in abrasive blasting operations.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 0093-0780
Status: Completed
Research Team:
  • Mario Roy (Université de Sherbrooke)
  • Anne-Marie Robert (Université de Sherbrooke)
  • Lucie Fortier (Université de Sherbrooke)
  • Danielle Giroux (Université de Sherbrooke)