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SILICA

NIOSH Publications By Industry

Survey Reports

NIOSH conducts engineering evaluation studies of worksites with silica dust and/or other occupational hazards as a part of control technology research. The field study portion of this research is documented in workplace survey reports available on the NIOSH Engineering Controls Topic Page.

Health Hazard Evaluations

A NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) is a study of a workplace to learn whether workers are exposed to hazardous materials or harmful conditions, such as exposure to crystalline silica dust. The NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluations site has a searchable database of HHE reports, including silica-related HHEs, and instructions for requesting an HHE.

Silica in Abrasive Blasting

Worker grinding concrete, worker cutting rock, silica particles

Abrasive Blasting Topic Page
Collection of resources regarding hazardous conditions and exposures in abrasive blasting.

Silicosis in Sandblasters: A Case Study Adapted for Use in U.S. High Schools
NIOSH Publication No. 2002–105 (2002)
A Case Study in Occupational Epidemiology — the goal of this publication is to teach about epidemiology by studying an occupational hazard, a disease associated with the hazard, and the methods for preventing the disease.
En Español

Evaluation of Substitute Materials for Silica Sand in Abrasive Blasting
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), commissioned KTA-Tator, Inc. to conduct a study entitled "Evaluation of Substitute Materials for Silica Sand in Abrasive Blasting" to evaluate the characteristics that influence abrasive performance from a surface preparation viewpoint and the potential for worker exposures to airborne contaminants.

Alert: Preventing Silicosis and Deaths From Sandblasting
NIOSH Publication No. 92-102 (1992)
The Alert describes 99 cases of silicosis from exposure to crystalline silica during sandblasting.
En Español

Silica in the Construction Industry

Construction Topic Page
Collection of resources regarding hazardous conditions and exposures in the construction industry.

Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health (eLCOSH): Silica
Collection of resources regarding information on silica. Some documents include versions in additional languages.

Workplace Solutions: Reducing Hazardous Dust Exposure When Rock Drilling During Construction
NIOSH Publication No. 2009-124 (April 2009)
Construction workers may be exposed to hazardous dust containing crystalline silica during site preparation when drilling systems are used. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that drill dust could be decreased by using wet or dry dust reduction engineering controls, enclosed cabs, and implementing a dust control program.
En Español

Workplace Solutions: Reducing Hazardous Dust in Enclosed Operator Cabs During Construction
NIOSH Publication No. 2009-123 (April 2009)
Construction workers may be exposed to hazardous dust containing silica when working in enclosed cabs during construction activities. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that equipment operator exposure could be reduced by retrofitting air pressurization and filtration systems on existing cabs, using sweeping compounds on soiled floors, and implementing a dust control program.
En Español

Workplace Solutions: Control of Hazardous Dust When Grinding Concrete
NIOSH Publication No. 2009-115 (April 2009)
Construction workers are exposed to hazardous dust when using handheld electric grinders to smooth poured concrete surfaces after forms are stripped. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that exposures could be reduced if a local exhaust ventilation (LEV) shroud was attached to the grinder.
En Español

Workplace Solutions: Control of Hazardous Dust During Tuckpointing
NIOSH Publication No. 2008-126 (September 2008)
Construction workers are exposed to hazardous dust when grinding or cutting mortar or cement from between the bricks of old buildings. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that exposures could be reduced using tool-mounted local exhaust ventilation and work practices.
En Español

Workplace Solutions: Water Spray Control of Hazardous Dust When Breaking Concrete with a Jackhammer
NIOSH Publication No. 2008-127 (May 2008)
Construction workers are exposed to hazardous dust when using jackhammers to break concrete pavement. NIOSH found that exposures could be reduced by using a water-spray attachment. A study to measure exposures found that jackhammer operators who break concrete were exposed to about 6 times the NIOSH recommended exposure limit (REL).
En Español

Silicosis - Working with Cement Roofing Tiles: A Silica Hazard
NIOSH Publication No. 2006-110 (2006)
Although respirable silica is a recognized health hazard in the construction industry, only recently has this exposure been documented in roofers. NIOSH has measured respirable silica levels up to four times the recommended exposure limit around roofers cutting cement products such as when roofing tiles are cut during the installation process.
En Español

Silicosis: Learn the Facts!
NIOSH Publication No. 2004-108 (August 2004)
This document presents information in an easy to read format describing silica exposures, the effects of silicosis, and methods to protect against silicosis.
En Español

Control Technology for Ready-Mix Truck Drum Cleaning at Hilltop Basic Resources [PDF - 2.2 MB]
Report No. CT-247-19
A NIOSH research study was conducted to evaluate worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica during interior cleaning of ready-mix concrete truck drums.

Hazard Control 27: New Shroud Design Controls Silica Dust From Surface Mine and Construction Blast Hole Drills
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 98-150 (1998)
On surface coal mining and construction sites, blast hole drills are notorious sources of airborne respirable dust that may contain significant amounts of silica. This Hazard Control offers information on a unique circular deck shroud which may reduce dust up to 99%.
En Español

Hazard Control 30: Control of Drywall Sanding Dust Exposures
NIOSH Publication No. 99-113 (1999)
Construction workers who sand drywall joint compound are often exposed to high concentrations of dusts and, in some cases, respirable silica. This publication focuses on two methods of drywall sanding — vacuum sanding systems and pole-sanding, which assist in reducing exposure.
En Español

Construction Workers: It's Not Just Dust!...Prevent Silicosis
NIOSH Publication No. 97-101 (1997)
This pamphlet contains brief information about what silicosis is, its symptoms, how construction workers get exposed, activities in which silica dust may be present, and silicosis prevention.

Silica...It's Not Just Dust: What Rock Drillers Can Do to Protect Their Lungs from Silica Dust
NIOSH Publication No. 97-118 (July 1998)
This bulletin, produced by an interagency team from NIOSH, MSHA and OSHA describes how to minimize the risks of silicosis for rock drillers.

Preventing Silicosis and Deaths in Construction Workers
NIOSH Publication No. 96-112 (1996)
This Alert describes six case reports of construction workers who have died or are suffering from silicosis. In addition, the Alert cites examples of five construction operations that used poor dust controls and two operations that used good dust controls.
En Español

Silica in Dentistry

Dentistry Topic Page
Collection of resources regarding exposure hazards in the field of dentistry.

Silicosis in Dental Laboratory Technicians --- Five States, 1994--2000
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: March 12, 2004 / 53(09);195-197.

Silica in Foundries

Hazard Control 23: Controlling Silica Dust from Foundry Casting-Cleaning Operations
NIOSH Publication No. 98-106 (1997)
Studies conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have shown that excessive concentrations of respirable silica are produced when cleaning castings made from sand molds.

Caution: Foundry at Work–NIOSH Video
NIOSH Publication No. 98-109d (1997)
This program describes occupational safety and health factors related to foundry work. English and Spanish versions are both included on this video.

Silica in the Mining Industry

NEW - Dust Control Handbook for Industrial Minerals Mining and Processing
NIOSH Publication No. 2012-112 (January 2012)
Throughout the mining and processing of minerals, the mined ore undergoes a number of crushing, grinding, cleaning, drying, and product sizing operations as it is processed into a marketable commodity. These operations are highly mechanized, and both individually and collectively these processes can generate large amounts of dust. If control technologies are inadequate, hazardous levels of respirable dust may be liberated into the work environment, potentially exposing workers. Accordingly, federal regulations are in place to limit the respirable dust exposure of mine workers. Engineering controls are implemented in mining operations in an effort to reduce dust generation and limit worker exposure.

Respirable Dusts: Mining Topic Page
Inhalation of excessive levels of silica dust can lead to silicosis, another disabling and potentially fatal lung disease.

Best Practices for Dust Control in Metal/Nonmetal Mining
NIOSH Publication No. 2010-132 (May 2010)
This handbook was developed to identify available engineering controls that can assist underground and surface metal/nonmetal mining operations in reducing worker exposure to respirable silica dust. The controls discussed in this handbook range from long-used controls which have developed into industry standards, to newer controls, which are still being optimized.

Best Practices for Dust Control in Coal Mining
NIOSH Publication No. 2010-110. (January 2010)
In light of the ongoing severity of these lung diseases in coal mining, this handbook was developed to identify available engineering controls that can help the industry reduce worker exposure to respirable coal and silica dust. The controls discussed in this handbook range from long-utilized controls that have developed into industry standards to newer controls that are still being optimized. The intent was to identify the best practices that are available to control respirable dust levels in underground and surface coal mining operations. This handbook provides general information on the control technologies along with extensive references.

Hazard ID 1: Exposure to Silica Dust on Continuous Mining Operations Using Flooded-Bed Scrubbers
NIOSH Publication No. 97-147 (1997)
This Hazard Identification recommends that a 30-layer stainless steel wire mesh or the synthetic filter panels be used in flooded-bed scrubbers to improve silica collection.

Hazard Control #27: New Shroud Design Controls Silica Dust From Surface Mine and Construction Blast Hole Drills
NIOSH Publication No. 98-150 (1998)
On surface coal mining and construction sites, blast hole drills are notorious sources of airborne respirable dust that may contain significant amounts of silica. This Hazard Control offers information on a unique circular deck shroud which may reduce dust up to 99%.
En Español

Silica in Rock Drilling

Silica...It's Not Just Dust: What Rock Drillers Can Do to Protect Their Lungs from Silica Dust
NIOSH Publication No. 97-118 (July 1998)
This bulletin, produced by an interagency team from MSHA, OSHA, and NIOSH describes how to minimize the risks of silicosis for rock drillers.

Hazard Control 27: New Shroud Design Controls Silica Dust From Surface Mine and Construction Blast Hole Drills
NIOSH Publication No. 98-150 (1998)
On surface coal mining and construction sites, blast hole drills are notorious sources of airborne respirable dust that may contain significant amounts of silica. This Hazard Control offers information on a unique circular deck shroud which may reduce dust up to 99%.
En Español

Preventing Silicosis and Deaths in Rock Drillers
NIOSH Publication No. 92-107 (1992)
This Alert describes 23 cases of silicosis from exposure to crystalline silica during rock drilling. Of the 23 workers reported, 2 workers have already died from the disease, and the remaining 21 may die eventually from silicosis or its complications.
En Español

 
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  • Page last reviewed: July 17, 2013
  • Page last updated: May 20, 2013
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