Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and no longer represents OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

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Because Silica is so abundant in our natural resources, it's possible that you use Silica and don't even know it!

To determine the presence of silica in your workplace you should:

If the employer suspects that silica is a hazard at the workplace, even though it is not known for sure, he/she is still required by OSHA to communicate this potential hazard to all employees.


There is potential for danger ONLY when crystalline silica particles are in the air. There may be materials that contain silica but if the operations on those materials do not generate dust, there is little chance of inhaling the silica. Likewise, there may be silica particles in the air even though you don't see any dust.

Probable Use of Silica
Abrasive Blasting  If you can answer YES to any of these, then it is likely that Silica is used at your work and that it is airborne. Cemeteries and Blasting 
Do you work in any of these?
Are you one of these?
Are any of these involved?
  • Abrasive blasting
  • Asphalt pavement manufacturing
  • Blast furnaces
  • Cement manufacturing
  • Ceramics, clay, and pottery
  • Concrete mixing
  • Concrete tunneling
  • Construction (mainly cement, concrete work)
  • Demolition
  • Electronics industry
  • Foundry industry: grinding, molding, shakeout, core room (High Risk)
  • Hand molding, casting, and forming
  • Jack hammer operations
  • Manufacturing abrasives, paints, soaps, and glass
  • Mining
  • Repair or replacement of linings of rotary kilns and cupola furnaces
  • Rolling and finishing mills
  • Sandblasting (High Risk)
  • Setting, laying, and repairing railroad track
  • Steelwork
  • Stone, brick, and concrete block cutting, blasting, chipping, grinding, and sawing
  • Tunneling operations
  • Brickmason/stonemason
  • Construction laborer
  • Crane and tower operator
  • Crushing and grinding machine operator
  • Furnace, kiln, non-food oven operator
  • Grinding, abrading, buffing, and polishing machine operator
  • Hand molder/shaper (not jeweler)
  • Heavy-equipment mechanic
  • Janitor or cleaner
  • Machinist
  • Metals/plastics machine operator
  • Molding and casting machine operator
  • Mining machine operator
  • Miscellaneous material moving equipment operator
  • Millwright
  • Operating engineer
  • Painter who sandblasts (High Risk)
  • Production supervisor
  • Rock driller (High Risk)
  • Roof bolter (High Risk)
  • Sandblaster (High Risk)
  • Steelworker
  • Welder/cutter

See how the chance of death is increased according to occupation
  • Abrasives
  • Coal Dust
  • Concrete
  • Dirt
  • Filter Aids
  • Graphite, natural
  • Mica
  • Mineral Products
  • Paints
  • Pavement
  • Perlite
  • Plant Materials
  • Plastic Fillers
  • Polishing Compounds
  • Portland Cement
  • Sands
  • Silicates
  • Slag
  • Soapstone
  • Soil

  • A product that contains silica should have a label that says so.
  • The machines used in the operations may also be labeled with warning signs indicating that silica is being used.
  • Manufacturer's responsibility: attach a label to all products that contain more than 0.1% silica that may be hazardous when used.
  • Employer's responsibility: ensure that the label is not removed or defaced.

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
  • These sheets contain data for all materials or products containing hazardous substances that are used at a business in quantities greater than what a consumer would use.
  • If a material or product contains crystalline silica in quantities greater than 0.1%, there must be a safety data sheet for it.
  • Manufacturer's responsibility: shall obtain or develop a safety data sheet for each hazardous chemical they produce or import.
  • Employer's responsibility: ensure access to safety data sheets for all hazardous materials at the workplace.

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