There could be a number of risks involved with abrasive blasting at any particular time. Since silica sand has been a regularly used abrasive, though not the only one, abrasive blasting is most commonly referred to as sandblasting. When cleaning metal items like steel structures or adding texture to poured concrete, sand-sized particles are accelerated with pressurized air to create a stream of high-velocity particles.

From the abrasive, any part of the substrate being abraded, or the substrate itself, this procedure often generates a lot of dust. Abrasive blasting dust poses a very serious health danger to the operator if the operation is not totally isolated from them.

The lungs are at risk from inhalable dust from abrasive materials like silica sand. When lead-based paint is removed from steel bridge infrastructure by abrasive blasting, lead particles may be created that could harm the nervous system. Abrasive blasting may present safety problems in addition to possible health risks.


There are many terms used to describe abrasive blasting. The following may be used to describe the kind of blasting media utilized:

  • Shot blasting
  • Bead blasting
  • Wheel blasting
  • Soda blasting
  • Wet blasting
  • Micro-blasting or pencil blasting
  • Dry-ice blasting

How Does Abrasive Blasting Work?

A basic abrasive blast system has three components:

  • blasting nozzle
  • a propelling system or mechanism
  • blasting pot or abrasive container

The media at the blasted surface is typically propelled by pressurized air or a wheel with centrifugal force. The media can be reused and recycled in a shot blaster, blast cabinet, or blast room until they are exhausted. The used media in outdoor blasting can be thrown away or repurposed.

Common Risks in Abrasive Blasting

Although this method is incredibly efficient for removing paint and other materials, it can also be quite dangerous, so any business that utilizes it must take abrasive blasting safety seriously.

Here are some risks related to this process:

  • pollution in the air
  • dust clouds
  • injury to the operator and other people around the area
  • structural weakness

The risks mentioned above are associated with blasting in an open area, which is just one method of doing this. It is also possible to blast inside an enclosed space when trying to remove paint or other materials from smaller items.

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