Construction Workers Should Know: Silica - It's not just dust

Silica Dust Levels

Silica air concentrations vary widely - some are low while others are extremely high and a real reason for concern. There are several things that make a difference:

  • What tool is used?
  • How enclosed is the work area (indoors or out, size of room, ceiling height, windows and doors installed, stairwells)?
  • Are dust control techniques used (water, ventilation, isolating the dusty work)?
  • Is the dusty work constant or intermittent? Does the job take the whole shift?

This table shows pooled air monitoring information from regulators in Washington, Oregon, and a Chicago OSHA office, universities and other research groups, and several construction contractors. The range of concentrations for these 11 common construction tools is very large. That makes it difficult to find one way to always control dust adequately for any one tool.

Silica Quartz Air Concentration Range(pdf)

Silica Exposure for Constructtion Tools