Construction Workers’ Exposure to Crystalline Silica [IRRST Report]

The Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST), one of the leading Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) research centres in Canada, recently released a report on Construction Workers’ Exposure to Crystalline Silica.

"Silica is one of the most prevalent inorganic compounds found in nature. As crystalline quartz, it is abundant in various minerals, including granite and sand. When materials containing crystalline silica are handled, quartz can be found as suspended dust in the air. If this dust is inhaled by workers, it can cause various respiratory tract diseases, the most serious being silicosis and lung cancer. In the construction industry, occupational exposure to crystalline silica is common in several trades due not only to its presence in many handled materials, for example concrete, mortar and brick, but also to the processes, involving operations such as breaking, grinding or sawing. In Québec, as in other jurisdictions, the crystalline silica exposure levels in the construction industry still frequently exceed the regulatory limit values...

...The construction field is complex, with many trades, tasks, materials and tools that can be linked to crystalline silica exposure. Québec occupational health and safety practitioners do not have at their disposal a knowledge review that would allow preventive actions to be ranked in relation to the Québec reality in this activity sector. The production of such a portrait was the general objective of this study, with the more specific objectives being to identify the most hazardous occupations and tasks in relation to their exposure level, and to identify the various means of controlling exposure, while documenting their effectiveness and developing a relational database on silica dust exposure that compiles the literature data in a format that can be used by researchers or practitioners."

Below you'll see a chart indicating exposure levels by Occupation title (as found in Québec). Read the full report here.

Silicone Exposure by Occupation

Source: IRRST Report R-771


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