February 2023 Occupational Health Watch
New Silica Safety Resources
Silica dust continues to be harmful to workers. Workers who cut and grind engineered stone countertops made from silica, commonly referred to as quartz, are at high risk of silicosis, a serious, incurable lung disease caused by breathing silica dust. Dozens of cases of silicosis, including some deaths, have been identified in California workers in this industry in recent years.
The Occupational Health Branch at the California Department of Public Health has developed resources for employers to help keep their workers safe and reduce exposure to silica dust. The Workplace Air Monitoring for Silica employer guide (PDF) contains a step-by-step guide to silica air monitoring, to ensure that worker exposures to silica dust are below required limits. Employers in this industry are subject to the Cal/OSHA General Industry Silica Standard, and the new Cal/OSHA Silica Standard Overview guide (PDF) describes key requirements of this regulation. Both resources are also available in Spanish.
Email OHW@cdph.ca.gov with feedback about this update or change of address.