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Silica

Alternate description

Silica is crystalline quartz. It is commonly used in building materials, particularly concrete and masonry products. It is toxic to the skin in materials such as cement, and is particularly dangerous when inhaled, which can happen when concrete is sawed, chipped, hammered or blasted in building, maintenance or demolition operations. The resulting dust contains microscopic silica fibers that lodge in the lungs and eventually cause silicosis, a deadly and irreversible lung disease. Silica exposure also increases risk for lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), kidney disease and tuberculosis.

Exposure to silica is a significant danger for Laborers. Limiting Laborers' exposures to the hazards of silica, especially silica dust, is an important goal of the LHSFNA. Our understanding of the dangers of silica goes back more than a half century, and many of the worst practices have been eliminated. But the risks of even slight exposure are serious, and the Fund continues its efforts to get all silica dust out of the air that Laborers breathe.

OSHA's new silica standard went into effect on June 23, 2016, and enforcement begins September 23, 2017. The Fund’s OSH Division is already working to help LIUNA signatory contractors understand their compliance options and the rule's mandatory actions and requirements. The Fund offers several publications related to preventing silica exposure, including Preventing Silica Exposure in Construction and Face It: a Laborers’ Guide to Respiratory Protection. 

To find out more about silica and the new standard, see the individual topics pages below:

Controlling Exposures with Table 1

Sampling Requirements

Respirator and Medical Surveillance Requirements

 

Silica

Answering Your Questions on Silica Compliance
Health & Safety Headlines
OSHA 10 & 30-Hour Courses Changed to Meet Safety Objectives
In Tribute to Dr. James Melius
As Construction Grows, Safety Is Falling Behind
Health & Safety Headlines
The Top 10 LHSFNA Articles of 2017
Diving into Medical Surveillance in the Silica Rule
Public Support for Labor Is on the Rise
Silica Rule Leading to New, “Disruptive” Technology
Watch Compliance in Action in These Silica Videos
Silica Enforcement Begins September 23rd. Are You Ready?
A Risky Compliance Option in OSHA’s Silica Standard
Criminal Charges in Fatal Trench Collapse Set Strong Precedent
“What Is Objective Data in the New Silica Rule and Where Can I Find It?”
The New Tools to Dismantle Safety and Health: Delay, Review and Repeal
Do You Have a Competent Person Ready for OSHA’s New Silica Rule?
Did You or Someone You Know Help with Cleanup after Sept. 11th?
Miss Our Last Webinar? Try the LHSFNA’s Webinar Archive
Answering Your Questions on the New Silica Standard
Getting to Know OSHA’s New Silica Standard
How Smoking Could Hurt Your Career
Demolition Safety Requires Careful Planning
Highlights from the LHSFNA’s Testimony at OSHA’s Silica Hearings
Infographic: The Real Way to Make Silicosis Disappear
It's Not Just Dust
OSHA to Enforce Sanitation Facilities on Portland Cement Work
LHSFNA: Include Career Information in EHRs
Concerned about Silica at Work?
Universal Drill Jig Adapted for Commercial Building Construction
Message from the Co-Chairmen
Proposed Silica Standard Needs Stronger 'Competent Person' Requirement
Clearing the Air on Respirator Compliance
Summary of Proposed Silica Standard for Construction
A Silica Standard for Construction
Occupational Safety and Health Risks of Fracking Operations
OSHA Proposes Silica Rule for Construction