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Mining Product: FAST - Field Analysis of Silica Tool


Original creation date: September 2018

Beta Release: This software has not fully completed NIOSH's rigorous testing but is considered to be fully functional. Because of the high level of interest from numerous stakeholders this beta version is being made available now. Send comments to

FAST (Field Analysis of Silica Tool) is a software program developed to implement a field-based respirable crystalline silica (RCS) monitoring approach for activities such as end-of-shift silica monitoring. The FAST software receives data from a Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy instrument (such data is difficult to interpret in its raw format) and translates it into an estimation of crystalline silica mass and crystalline silica mass concentration per respirable dust sample. FAST considers additional information—such as sampler type, flow rate, sampling time, etc.—to make these estimations. FAST helps to sort and organize respirable crystalline silica exposure data to detect and track trends in exposure across time and location.

Important Note for FAST Beta Users: This beta version of the FAST software is designed to work in concert with an easily implemented monitoring approach also developed by NIOSH, which uses portable FTIR analyzers and dust sampling cassettes at the mine site. As detailed in the software guide, RCS results from this initial release of FAST are accurate if a sample is collected in a coal mine. Choosing a commodity prefixed with the type other means that no adjustments are made for other minerals that might be present in addition to crystalline silica.  Therefore, for samples collected in mines other than coal, the results should be considered as approximations, since the possible presence of other minerals may decrease the accuracy of the quantification model, and the true result may be greater or less than the approximation. Future releases of FAST will offer improved accuracy for commodity types besides coal.

Click here for a list of hardware and software requirements for field-based respirable crystalline silica monitoring.

References for published research supporting expansion of FAST to other commodities include:

Installation instructions:

  • Download and unzip the installer to a local folder.
  • Open the Installer folder and run setup.exe.

Authors: E Cauda, L Chubb, J Britton, J Fritz, G Cole

Software (Windows) - March 2019

Version: 1.0.3 Beta

Pittsburgh, PA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication