Approximately two million construction workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in over 600,000 workplaces each year. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, estimates that more than 840,000 of these workers are exposed to silica levels that exceed permissible exposure limits (PELs).
Exposure to respirable crystalline silica can cause silicosis, lung cancer, other respiratory diseases, and kidney disease.
Exposure to silica can occur during common construction tasks, such as using masonry saws, grinders, drills, jackhammers, handheld powered chipping tools, operating vehicle-mounted drilling rigs, milling, operating crushing machines, and using heavy equipment for demolition or certain other tasks.
NOTE – OSHA’s regulations define construction work as “construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating.”