Occupational Health Watch: February 2019
Preventing Illness from Silica Dust
Workers in construction and manufacturing jobs are often exposed to respirable crystalline silica, which is released when cutting or drilling into stone and concrete. Breathing silica dust is dangerous and can lead to serious and often fatal illnesses.
There are steps employers must take to protect workers by reducing exposure to dust. These steps include using controls like wet methods and ventilation. Respirators can be used, but only if other methods are not protective enough.
The following resources provide guidance for how employers can protect workers from hazardous exposures to silica dust.
Photo: Wet methods and ventilation can reduce dust exposures.
Image courtesy National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Silica Safety Resources for Stone Fabricators – CDPH web page
Respirable Crystalline Silica Standards – Cal/OSHA web page
Work Safely with Silica – CPWR website
Silica topic page – NIOSH
Email Occupational Health Watch (OHW@cdph.ca.gov) with feedback or change of address.