How Safety Affects Your Fiber Cement Cost
Working with fiber-cement has hidden equipment costs and long-term health risks. When pricing a siding job keep these potentially expensive cost factors in mind.
Some fiber cement products include forms of natural organic fiber and silica you should avoid breathing during the installation process. In its manufactured state fiber-cement is not considered to cause cancer. However, the inhalation of crystalline silica dust, which is in fiber cement during manufacturing, is known to cause lung cancer and silicosis. The moral of the story is to protect yourself when working with fiber cement siding and avoid unnecessary risks.
Hazards of Skimping on Safety to Lower Fiber Cement Cost
You wouldn't work unprotected with asbestos and you shouldn't work unprotected with this siding. Health risks include:
- Upper respiratory system irritation
- Skin and eyes abrasion
- Aggravation of pre-existing asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and other lung and upper respiratory diseases
The problem is the dust. Cutting, scraping, trimming, and sawing the fiber cement inevitably creates dust.
Work outside if possible and always wear a respirator mask.
Use specialized equipment that reduces the amount of dust in the air and doesn't weaken the structural integrity of installed fiber cement for the best results. This includes an electric variable speed shear kit that produces less dust than other forms of cutting and a 7 ¼-inch circular saw with a dust collector designed specifically for fiber-cement cutting.
First Aid Response to Dust Inhalation
If you breathe the air-born dust get outside and into the fresh air. Flush your skin and eyes with water. A skin moisturizer might help affected skin but avoid trapping tiny dust particles against your skin.
Cutting corners by ignoring respiratory safety to lower your fiber cement cost bottom line may lessen your out-of-pocket expenses now but cost you long-range health problems in the future. Equipment and safety are two fiber-cement cost factors you can't avoid paying.
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