Controlling Silica Exposures in Construction – OSHA – PDF
This guidance document addresses the control of employee exposures to respirable dust containing crystalline silica, which is known to cause silicosis, a serious lung disease, as well as increase the risk of lung cancer and other systemic diseases.
This document provides information on the effectiveness of various engineering control approaches for several kinds of construction operations and equipment, and contains recommendations for work practices and respiratory protection, as appropriate.
The recommendations presented in this document are based on a review of information in the published literature, NIOSH In-Depth Survey Reports and OSHA inspection data.
Engineering control evaluations reported in the published literature were generally performed in controlled work environments and may not reflect actual workplace exposures experienced at construction worksites.
Moreover, potential silica exposure levels will depend on the concentration of silica in materials at construction sites, as well as factors in the work environment (such as enclosed, semi-enclosed, or open spaces and/or multiple operations generating silica dust) as well as environmental conditions (such as wind direction and speed).
Therefore, OSHA encourages employers to conduct periodic exposure monitoring to confirm that engineering and work practice controls are effective and that appropriate respiratory protection is being used where necessary.
Controls continue to evolve and OSHA encourages equipment suppliers and contractors to work with industrial hygienists to evaluate new designs and products to obtain objective information that can be used to evaluate performance and support informed decisions on use.