Silica

Man wearing hardhat, mask, eye protection, gloves, and an apron lowers the arm of a saw blade sawing grey bricks using wet cutting methods outdoors.
Keep silica dust out of your lungs! Use power tools equipped with vacuum or water-delivery systems designed to keep dust out of the air. Respirator use may also be necessary as a secondary safety measure.

Photo courtesy of OSHA.

Crystalline silica is a basic component of concrete, cement, brick and mortar, granite and other stone materials, sand products containing quartz, and some soils. Any of these materials will release silica dust into the air when subject to actions like grinding, sawing, drilling, chipping, or crushing.

Workers can breathe in harmful amounts of silica dust over time and eventually develop a disabling lung disease such as silicosis or lung cancer when effective dust control measures aren't used.

Examples of dust control measures include use of ventilated or "wet" dust controls on tools and equipment, switching to safer materials that don't contain silica, and isolating exposure source/s from workers.

Employers are required to follow requirements in the Crystalline Silica rule, Chapter 296-840 WAC, to protect workers from crystalline silica.

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