Silica Information, Dan Napier, MS, CIH
Recent changes -2016- have impacted any Company working with many
different products are impacted. You may need to have a Silica
Program for your Company. We have developed a program that
addresses the minimum OSHA requirements for a Silica Program.
Here is a brief discussion about who may be impacted.
Construction or Manufacturing work that involves exposure to
crystalline silica containing materials can cause lung diseases.
These silica containing materials include (but are not limited to):
• Airborne sand
• Ceramic and terracotta tiles
• Concrete and concrete block
• Manufactured stone
• Bricks and blocks
• Grouts and mortar
• Some joint compounds
• Abrasive materials
• Roof tile
Exposure to crystalline silica can cause a variety of lung diseases
including silicosis, lung cancer, COPD (Chronic Obstructive
Pulmonary Disease), decreased lung function, and increased
likelihood of getting tuberculosis. Although most cases of silicosis
develop after years of exposure, instances of extremely high
exposure have resulted in illness and even death in a matter of
weeks. Airborne permissible exposure limits (PEL) are established
for several different forms of crystalline silica. These limits
range from 0.05 to 0.1 mg/m3 of respirable dust, expressed as an 8
hour TWA (see Table AC-1
of 5155). Hazardous work activities include abrasive blasting
with sand and loading, dumping, chipping, hammering, cutting, and
drilling of rock, sand, or concrete. Generally during work on
materials, such as rock or concrete that contain a significant
amount of silica (20% or greater), continuous exposure to a visible
cloud of dust will probably result in levels of exposure that exceed
the PEL. However, in some cases the PEL can be exceeded even when
there is no visible cloud of dust.
We have found respirable silica levels of concern from work
including --abrasive blasting, gunite installation, concrete
cutting, traffic stripe removal--the list goes on. You will
need to develop a customized plan for your company for silica.
That plan will need to be , simple, easy to understand and cover all
requirements. There is a copy of the CalOSHA code here, I reformatted it
to make it easier to understand.