OSHA Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction Fact Sheet
OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction
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 construction materials such as sand, stone, concrete, brick, and mortar. When workers cut, grind, drill, or crush materials that contain crystalline silica, very small dust particles are created. 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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