Engineered quartz like most products and substances should be accompanied by a material safety data sheet, or MSDS. This document is objectively to help both workers and eventual emergency personnel, in any emergency procedure caused by handling or working the engineered quartz. As we will see, these documents may include a variety of information regarding the product itself, in some cases due to the physical characteristics of the product some may not be applied. The MSDS information sheet should include information about the product, health effects, first aid procedures, storage and handling, protective equipment, besides other important information in dealing with the product in extreme abnormal situations.
The MSDS document is really a pro-forma which should contain important information regarding the product which may include the following information:
- 1. Identify the substance or product correctly
- 2. The name of the manufacturer, including complete address and phone contacts
- 3. Identify the composition of the product or substance, especially if any is hazardous. In engineered quartz slabs it should mention quartz and it’s chemical designation SiO2. And may include other substances that are hazardous if any. In many cases, only quartz will be mentioned
- 4. The Hazard Notification should be expressly mentioned: in the case of engineered quartz it’s not considered hazardous according to the NOHSC criteria
- 5. First Aid Measures: A long list of first aid measures will be written out namely in case of:
a. Inhalation: may be necessary first aid if inhalation is during a cutting process with inappropriate water dust extraction systems. The person should be transferred to a open area, certified that all airways are clear and oxygen mask may be used if the victim suffers from breathing difficulty. Specialized medical attention is required.
b. Ingestion: if dust is ingested, seek medical attention if symptoms develop
c. Skin contact: after cutting wash off with soap and water, if any symptoms occur seek medical attention
d. Eye contact: was dust with clean water, if symptoms develop seek medical attention
- 6. Fire Fighting Issues
Extinguishing: powder type extinguishers, in general the material is very hardly flammable
Special Exposure risks: not explosive, however at 490ºC or higher the product will auto ignite. However the quartz composition in the agglomerate stone will extinguish the flame, so the product will disintegrate giving out a smoke effect.
Protective equipment: standard equipment
- 7. Accidental release measures
If a large quantity of dust is released for some non predicted reason, and if such spill may contaminate water ways, local environmental authorities should be evolved to minimize impacts. In house dust release requires appropriate mask protection to sustain the origin and stabilize the area.
- 8. Handling and Storage
Due to the dimensions and weight involved personnel should follow all safety instruction while handling engineered quartz slabs.
Safety boots and gloves are obligatory, and all storage safety measure should be complied accordingly.
Namely avoid staking pallets and don’t stack more than 28 slabs on the same A-frame. It’s also advisable to avoid exterior warehousing of these types of materials, the damage caused by heat and weathering may cause permanent damage to the product.
These are some of the information that may be included in material safety data sheets, it depends on the manufacturers and the clients needs for such information. Many of the information included in these documents can be seen on fabricators manuals and other technical information documents that the manufacturer usually distributes to clients and other market agents.
Engineered quartz have serious issues regarding manufacturing, these I will focuss on a post dedicated to that specific matter, the material safety data sheet is a document that normally follows with shipping documents. Each manufacturer includes more or less information according to what they establish as important an useful, in general most products, engineered quartz, made using the same type of technology, and with similar raw-material base, will in theory have similar material safety sheet data.