OSHA Control Silica Dust Fact Sheet
OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for General Industry and Maritime
Workers who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica dust are at increased risk of developing serious silica-related diseases. OSHA’s standard requires employers to take steps to protect workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica.
What Is Respirable Crystalline Silica?
Crystalline silica is a common mineral that is found in materials such as stone, artificial stone, and sand. When workers cut, grind, or drill materials that contain crystalline silica, or use industrial sand, they can be exposed to very small silica dust particles. These tiny particles (known as “respirable” particles) can travel deep into workers’ lungs and cause silicosis, an incurable and sometimes deadly lung disease. Respirable crystalline silica also causes lung cancer, other potentially debilitating respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease. In most cases, these diseases occur after years of exposure to respirable crystalline silica.
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