Respirable (breathable) crystalline silica is made of very small particles at least 100 times smaller than ordinary sand you might encounter at the beach. It is created during work operations involving cutting stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, mortar, and industrial sand. You get exposed to dust during these operations as well as others involving sandblasting, grinding pavement and the like.
What can happen to me from exposure to crystalline silica?
Without proper engineering controls, workers can be exposed to harmful levels of respirable crystalline silica that can cause silicosis, lung cancer, and other lung and kidney diseases.
What can be done to reduce production of crystalline silica?
Applying water to a saw blade when cutting materials that contain crystalline silica – such as stone, rock, concrete, brick and block, can substantially reduce the amount of dust created during these operations.
What is OSHA doing to help reduce exposure limits?
OSHA estimates that putting stricter controls on exposure to silica, as contemplated by the new rule OSHA is proposing, will save nearly 700 lives and prevent 1600 new cases of silicosis per year, once the full effects of the newly proposed rule are realized.
How can I be involved in the rulemaking process?
Written comments regarding OSHA’s proposed silica rule can be submitted within 90 days after the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) is published in the Federal Register.
You may visit the Federal e- Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket ID# OSHA-2010-0034.
Hearings are scheduled to begin on March 4, 2014 at the Department of Labor’s Frances Perkins Building in Washington, DC.
How can I learn more?
Watch OSHA’s new “Deadly Dust” video below to see firsthand the tragic effects of silicosis on workers and how dust control methods can help limit workers’ exposure to crystalline silica.