Why the Concern About Silica? – November 2017

Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety

November 2017

IN THIS ISSUE: Why the Concern About Silica?

Of all the hundreds of hazardous substances that expose workers to harmful effects, why did OSHA choose to lower the Permissible Exposure Limit and create a specific regulatory standard for Respirable Crystalline Silica? Workers who are exposed to silica have an increased risk of developing Silicosis, Lung cancer, Chronic Obstructive, Pulmonary Disease (COPD); and Kidney disease. Silicosis is a disabling, irreversible, and sometimes fatal lung disease. It is estimated there are between 3600 and 7300 new cases of Silicosis each year in the U.S.

Silica, a form of silicon dioxide (SiO2), is one of the most common minerals found in the earth’s crust. It can be either crystalline or non-crystalline. Sand and quartz are common examples of crystalline silica. The respirable form occurs in very small particles, at least 100 times smaller than ordinary sand. It can be created by mechanical actions sanding and grinding. Very small particles, when breathed in, may pass to the lower lung and remain. The body’s defense mechanism may form nodules around the intruders, which can lead to future health problems.

Construction work such as abrasive blasting with sand, sawing brick or concrete, sanding or drilling into concrete walls, grinding mortar; manufacturing brick, concrete blocks, stone countertops, or ceramic products; and cutting or crushing stone generate, Silica.

The governmental organization, NIOSH, as well as other worker health organizations have long recognized the health implications of  Silica and have had much lower exposure standards.  OSHA will begin enforcing most provisions of the new standard for construction on September 23, 2017, and will begin enforcing most provisions of the standard for general industry and maritime on June 23, 2018.-

For  more information on this topic and to discuss your company’s safety and industrial hygiene needs call OccuSafe at (214) 662-6005 or visit us at www.occusafeinc.com
OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health. OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.

This newsletter is published monthly by OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety Services, Inc. Feel free to forward it to friends and colleagues.

Comments are closed.