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Hazard Recognition

Recognizing potential hazards is key in preventing and minimizing the effects of silica exposure. Silicosis is a disabling, nonreversible and sometimes fatal lung disease caused by overexposure to respirable crystalline silica. The following references aid in recognizing crystalline silica hazards and health effects.

General Resources

  • "Crystalline Silica Exposure" Health Hazard Information for General Industry Employees. OSHA Publication 3176, (2002). A Spanish version is also available. Discusses what silica is, what are its hazards, and what employers and employees can do to protect against exposures to silica.
  • Crystalline Silica Exposure Health Hazard Information [52 KB PDF*, 2 pages]. OSHA Fact Sheet, (2002) A Spanish version [75 KB PDF*, 2 pages] is also available. Provides information regarding silicosis disease and exposures.
  • Silica. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Safety and Health Topic. Provides information about silica as well as links to related publications and references.
  • Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 75-120, (1974). Contains information on health effects, environmental data, work practices, and development of the crystalline silica standard.
  • Crystalline Silica Primer [99 KB PDF, 54 pages]. US Department of the Interior, US Bureau of Mines, Branch of Industrial Minerals, (1992). Provides a good starting point for anyone wanting to learn about crystalline silica. Includes information on silica and other pertinent regulatory information.
  • Occupational Health Guideline for Crystalline Silica. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Source of information for employees, employers, physicians, industrial hygienists and other occupational health professionals who may have a need for a need for information on crystalline silica.
  • OSHA NIOSH Hazard Alert: Worker Exposure to Silica During Hydraulic Fracturing. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2012-166, (2012). This Hazard Alert discusses the health hazards associated with hydraulic fracturing and focuses on worker exposures to silica in the air. It covers the health effects of breathing silica, recommends ways to protect workers, and describes how OSHA and NIOSH can help.
  • Hazard Alert: Silica in Abrasive Blasting and Rock Drilling Center for Construction Research & Training (CPWR). Hazard alert covering silica dangers in abrasive blasting and rock drilling. Covers the use of wet drilling methods and the use of masks to protect workers from inhaling silica particles.
  • State-based Silicosis Surveillance US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Web page containing information on silicosis surveillance programs in states where data is collected, including Michigan, New Jersey, California, and New York. Also provides NIOSH guidelines on silicosis surveillance for state health departments.
  • Occupational Health Indicators Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE). Indicators describe the occupational health status of the working population and provide data from 28 states and, where available, the United States. The data are from 2000 through 2008. See specifically Indicator #9: Pneumoconiosis hospitalizations and Indicator #10: Pneumoconiosis mortality.

Resources for the Construction Industry

Exposure Evaluation

Sampling and Analysis

Analytical Methods


Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Standards and Guidance at (202) 693-1950 for assistance accessing DOC, EPS, GIF, MP4, PDF, PPT or XLS documents.

*These files are provided for downloading.