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Technical Support / Best Practices

Working Safely with James Hardie® Products

Managing the Silica Hazard

Important Note: Prior to using any James Hardie® products, all users must read all applicable warnings (including MSDS) and comply with all installation instructions. Failure to do so may result in serious personal injury or death.

Managing Silica Exposures
James Hardie® believes that safety should be of paramount importance to everyone and is committed to the safe use of its products. James Hardie has established the following Recommended Cutting Practices as an easy-to-follow, practical guide to help you reduce the risk of potential silica exposures.

  1. Position cutting station so that wind will blow dust away from user and others in working area.
  2. Use one of the following methods:
    1. Best:
      1. Score and snap
      2. Shears (Pneumatic or Handheld)
    2. Better:
      1. Dust reducing circular saw equipped with a HardieBlade® saw blade and HEPA vacuum extraction
    3. Good:
      1. Dust reducing circular saw with a HardieBlade saw blade (only use for low to moderate cutting)
  1. Cut only using score and snap, or shears (manual, electric or pneumatic).
  2. Position cutting station in well-ventilated area

  • NEVER use a power saw indoors
  • NEVER use a circular saw blade that does not carry the HardieBlade saw blade trademark
  • NEVER dry sweep – Use wet suppression or HEPA Vacuum
Important Note: For maximum protection (lowest respirable dust production), James Hardie recommends always using "Best"-level cutting methods where feasible.

Respirator James Hardie encourages you to always minimize all dust exposures. As such, properly-fitted NIOSH approved respirators (e.g. N95) can be used in conjunction with Recommended Cutting Instructions to provide additional protection against silica exposures. NOTE: Prior to use, follow the respirator manufacturer's use instructions and comply with all applicable government regulations.

Cutting using the score and snap method
Score and Snap Using a straight-edge as a guide, score with carbidetipped scoring knife.
Score and Snap Snap the sheet upwards toward the scored line.

Cutting with shears
Cutting with shears For smoother edges, always cut from the back of the product with the top two blades of shear flush against the board.

Reducing dust exposures with a dust-reducing circular saw
Reducing dust exposures with a dust-reducing circular saw Set-up cutting station in well-ventilated, outdoor area with wind blowing dust away from user and others in area.
Reducing dust exposures with a dust-reducing circular saw It is strongly recommended that a dust-reducing saw be connected to a HEPA vacuum to further reduce respirable dust exposures.
Reducing dust exposures with a dust-reducing circular saw NEVER use a high speed power tool in a poorly ventilated or covered area such as a garage, patio, or carport.

Diablo® HardieBlade™
Hardieblade With only four poly-crystalline diamond teeth, the Diablo® HardieBlade™ by Freud Tools will produce less respirable dust as compared to a traditional framing or masonary blade when cutting fiber cement products. James Hardie® recommends that only the HardieBlade be used.
Continious Rim Diamond Blades Continious Rim Diamond Blades (or segmented masonry blades) should NEVER be used as they can create unsafe dust levels when cutting fiber cement products.
Continious Rim Diamond Blades NEVER use a grinder to cut as it may generate unhealthy dust levels.

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