Sandblasting, SGS Solutions To Protecting Workers' Health In The Jeans Industry

Consumer demand for jeans with a worn and faded appearance has contributed to the continued use of sandblasting in key production nations. The process has however been prohibited for producers within the European Union since 1962.

The sandblasting process facilitates the abrasion of garments through the spraying of fabrics with solid particles such as aluminum oxide or silica sand using pressurized air.

In those countries where sandblasting is unregulated, the known risks of the processes are not always given full consideration. Factories outside the EU have been known not to implement appropriate training programs, nor to supply workers with appropriate protective equipment (http://www.softlines.sgs.com/functional-clothing.htm).

Significant health issues
The potential danger to workers from sandblasting was highlighted last January with the announcement of the deaths from silicosis of 40 workers in Turkey.

Silicosis - an incurable occupational lung disease traditionally associated with miners and workers in the glass, construction and ceramics industries - is caused by the inhalation of crystalline silica dust, usually as a result of poor working conditions in industries where silica is used. Increasing demand for the production of special finishes on denim has seen a growth in the number of factories and workshops undertaking sandblasting, with a resulting increase in the incidence of silicosis. Despite recent prohibition of manual sandblasting in Turkey (April 2009), the practice continues without any specific bans in other key production nations, including China, India and Bangladesh.

Addressing the problem
A range of measures (http://www.sustainability.sgs.com/consumergoods/social-resp.htm) can be implemented to reduce the impact of sandblasting on workers' health. Protective isolation chambers, substitution of high-risk materials and targeted workforce protection can all help to safeguard workers in those places where the process remains permitted. In these workplaces SGS can provide an audit and review of factory processes, giving advice on legal requirements and the effectiveness of protective measures.

The SGS Group is the global leader and innovator in inspection, verification, testing and certification services. Founded in 1878, SGS is recognized as the global benchmark in quality and integrity. With 59,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,000 offices and laboratories around the world.

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Contact Details

Company Name: Sgs Consumer Testing Ser vices
Issued By: Camille Querleu
Phone: +33 1 41 24 87 05
Address: 1 place des Alpes Geneva Switzerland
Zip: 1211
Website: Visit the website

by Camille Querleu (few years ago!)

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