FAQ’s on Controlling Silica in General Industry

Source: Bogdan Mircea Hoda - 123RF

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has posted new frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the agency’s standard for respirable crystalline silica in general industry.

Crystalline silica is a basic component of soil, sand, granite, and many other minerals. Quartz is the most common form of crystalline silica.

All three forms may become respirable size particles when workers chip, cut, drill, or grind objects that contain crystalline silica.

Additionally, breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal. The respirable silica dust enters the lungs and causes the formation of scar tissue, thus reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen.

OSHA developed the FAQs in consultation with industry and union stakeholders to provide guidance to employers and employees on the standard’s requirements, such as exposure assessments, regulated areas, methods of compliance, and communicating silica hazards to employees.

The questions and answers are organized by topic and include an introductory paragraph that provides background information about the regulatory requirements.

Visit OSHA’s silica standard for general industry webpage for more information and resources on complying with the standard.