Crystalline silica is a mineral that can be found in stone, concrete, brick, and mortar. According to the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “Respirable crystalline silica – very small particles at least 100 times smaller than ordinary sand you might find on beaches and playgrounds – is created when cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling, and crushing stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar.”
Because of its toxicity to humans, OSHA has established limitations regarding exposure to silica dust. Understanding exposure to silica is crucial for the health and safety of workers. Midwest Environmental Consulting Services, Inc. (MEC) provides silica consulting, sampling, and performs analysis to ensure your company is in compliance.
Our professionals will thoroughly review your work methods and recommend engineering controls to help safeguard workers.
Personal Air Monitoring
Detailed Monitoring Report
Annual Silica Exposure Monitoring
According to OSHA, “Activities such as abrasive blasting with sand; sawing brick or concrete; sanding or drilling into concrete walls; grinding mortar; manufacturing brick, concrete blocks, stone countertops, or ceramic products; and cutting or crushing stone result in worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica dust.”
Exposure to respirable crystalline silica can occur during typical construction and demolition activities. Therefore, most construction crews, general industry, maritime, and hydraulic fracturing workers are at risk for silica exposure. About 2.3 million people in the US are exposed to silica at work.
Permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica dust is 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air on average for an 8-hour shift
Medical Exams monitor exposed workers and inform them about their lung health
Provide engineering controls such as water or ventilation, and limit exposure to silica dust
Provide respirators when worker exposure cannot be limited to the PEL using engineering controls
Develop an exposure control plan
Train workers about silica risks and how to limit exposure
All samples are examined by a licensed analyst from an independent third-party laboratory which is accredited by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and takes part in the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP).
According to OSHA, those who inhale microscopic crystalline silica particles are at increased risk of harmful diseases including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney disease, and incurable lung diseases such as silicosis.
Silicosis is a lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust. This leads to inflammation and scarring in the form of nodular lesions in the upper lobes of the lungs.