Technical Support / Best Practices
Working Safely with James Hardie® ProductsManaging 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.
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
Using a straight-edge as a guide, score with carbidetipped scoring knife.
Snap the sheet upwards toward the scored line.
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
Set-up cutting station in well-ventilated, outdoor area with wind blowing dust away from user and others in area.
It is strongly recommended that a dust-reducing saw be connected to a HEPA vacuum to further reduce respirable dust exposures.
NEVER use a high speed power tool in a poorly ventilated or covered area such as a garage, patio, or carport.
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 (or segmented masonry blades) should NEVER be used as they can create unsafe dust levels when cutting fiber cement products.
NEVER use a grinder to cut as it may generate unhealthy dust levels.
WARNING: AVOID BREATHING SILICA DUST
James Hardie® products contain respirable crystalline silica, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer and is considered by IARC and NIOSH to be a cause of cancer from some occupational sources. Breathing excessive amounts of respirable silica dust can also cause a disabling and potentially fatal lung disease called silicosis, and has been linked with other diseases. Some studies suggest smoking may increase these risks. During installation or handling: (1) work in outdoor areas with ample ventilation; (2) use fiber cement shears for cutting or, where not feasible, use a HardieBlade® saw blade and dust-reducing circular saw attached to a HEPA vacuum; (3) warn others in the immediate area; (4) wear a properly-fitted, NIOSH-approved dust mask or respirator (e.g. N-95) in accordance with applicable government regulations and manufacturer instructions to further limit respirable silica exposures. During clean-up, use HEPA vacuums or wet cleanup methods - never dry sweep. For further information, refer to our installation instructions and Material Safety Data Sheet available at www.jameshardie.com or by calling 1-800-9HARDIE (1-800-942-7343). FAILURE TO ADHERE TO OUR WARNINGS, MSDS, AND INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS MAY LEAD TO SERIOUS PERSONAL INJURY OR DEATH.