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Silica sand is a basic component of soil, sand, and granite and can be found in many concrete and masonry products. Green roof workers may be exposed to many forms of silica dust from the cutting, grinding and drilling of these products, often used in the hard-scaping of rooftop landscapes. Silicosis is the permanent damage to the lungs caused by breathing the fine particles of crystalline silica dust. Silicosis can be debilitating and can lead to death. Workers in the green roofs industry may be exposed to cryatalline silica.

OSHA has an established Permissible Exposure Limit, or PEL, which is the maximum amount of crystalline silica to which workers may be exposed during an 8-hour shift (29 CFR 1926.55, 1910.1000). OSHA also requires hazard communication training for workers exposed to crystalline silica, and requires a respirator program until engineering controls are implemented. Additionally, OSHA has a National Emphasis Program (NEP) for Crystalline Silica exposure to identify, reduce, and eliminate health hazards associated with occupational exposures.

Additional resources below provide information on hazards of crystalline silica: