OSHA has issued a series of revised fact sheets to help employers comply with OSHA’s respirable crystalline silica standards for construction.
Crystalline silica is a common mineral found in the Earth’s crust, and it is used to create products such as glass, pottery, bricks, artificial stones and many others. Crystalline silica is also created when crushing stone, rock, concrete and bricks. As a result, workers who perform sanding, drilling and/or grinding tasks may be exposed to respirable crystalline silica dust.
About 2.3 million people in the U.S. are exposed to silica at work. Inhalation of crystalline silica particles creates an increased risk of developing diseases such as silicosis (an Incurable lung disease, leading to disability and death); lung cancer; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease.
To better protect exposed workers, OSHA has issued two respirable crystalline silica standards, one for construction, the other for general industry and maritime facilities. OSHA began enforcing provisions for construction on Sept. 23, 2017, and will start enforcing general industry and maritime provisions of the standard on June 23, 2018.
For more information, visit OSHA’s Silica Safety and Health page and visit the OSHA publications page to access all of the agency's fact sheets on silica.