NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Tips for preventing silicosis. If it's silica, it's not just dust.
NIOSH 1997 Jan; :1-2
A pamphlet providing information on how to prevent occupational silicosis was presented. The pamphlet, which was published by NIOSH and the United States Department of Labor, provided guidelines for both employers and workers to reduce exposures to crystalline silica (14808607) dust and summarized the properties and sources of exposure to silica dust and OSHA and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regulations for controlling occupational silica dust exposures. Recommendations that employers can take include making a commitment to prevent silicosis at the worksite. This involves complying with OSHA and MSHA regulations regarding silica exposure, performing air monitoring at the worksite, maintaining engineering controls, substituting less hazardous materials for silica for abrasive blasting operations, and supplying vacuums with high efficiency particulate air filters. Strategies to improve worker health include training them about the health effects of silica, establishing a written respirator program, providing medical evaluations for employees potentially exposed to silica, reporting all silicosis cases to state health departments and the MSHA and recording cases on OSHA logs, and posting warning signs to identify work areas where respirable silica is present. Actions that workers can take to protect themselves include cooperating with their employers to prevent silicosis at the worksite, use of engineering controls installed by the employer for reducing silica dust levels, minimizing dust exposures by following good work and housekeeping practices, wearing, maintaining, and correctly using approved particulate respirators when engineering controls alone cannot reduce silica exposures below permissible levels, using positive pressure abrasive blasting respirators if and when sandblasting is performed, participating in all air monitoring, medical surveillance, and training programs, and talking with the employer, employee representative, or union if concerned about the presence of dust in the workplace.
Respiratory-system-disorders; Silica-dusts; Disease-prevention; Safety-measures; Legislation; Occupational-health; Abrasive-blasting; Respiratory-protective-equipment
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division