The potential for workers to inhale respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is an important issue to a number of types of companies. There are a variety of tasks involving work with materials containing silica that can result in exposure and subject a company to OSHA regulations.
Maybe you’ve read articles recently about disease clusters associated with workers who grind on engineered countertops containing quartz; the very tiny particles that are created can be breathed into the deepest recesses of the lungs and result in disease if good controls are not in place. News about the countertop work might be bringing attention to the RCS issue, but the need to assess risk associated with occupational silica exposure, and to have control measures to help limit exposure, has existed for a long time.
Occupational safety and health regulations exist in many countries to include the US to require controls that can help protect workers with RCS exposure. The Federal OSHA rules have changed recently and they require certain and very specific things. The rules that exist for construction are different than those that exist for “general industry.” Also, know that States can have programs that are different (but at least as effective as) the Federal OSHA regulations.
For a bit of background on the issues and a review of some requirements, please take a look at an article that I wrote recently for CAM Magazine’s November 2019 edition. CAM Magazine can be found online for free at the “Buildwithcam” website. A link to the article is at: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/bd3c99b8#/bd3c99b8/18 . A copy of the article will also be posted on the Sixth Sense Safety Solutions website. I believe there is good consolidated information there that can help orient folks and also provide a bit of a bit of a “State of Affairs” report. Take a look! And, let me know if you have any questions.