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Silica is a naturally occurring mineral found in granite, sandstone, slate and shale. It can also be found on construction sites where rock dust is present. Silica dust can be inhaled and accumulated in the lungs.

Know how to protect yourself. If you’re not sure, have a qualified person provide assistance.

Silica code of practice

In accordance with section 413 of the OH&S Regulations, employers who have workers employed at a mine or quarry where silica is mined or quarried or where it is present shall comply with the Silica Code of Practice.  

Video

Worksafe BC has a short video discussing how breathing in silica can damage the lungs

Occupational Hygiene Resources from Worksafe BC

To assist occupational health and safety professionals, WorkSafeBC has posted the following sample documents (in editable Microsoft Word format), which can be used to help create an employer’s exposure control program (ECP). Note that these sample documents are not sufficient to constitute an ECP but may assist.

Title Description


Developing a silica exposure control plan
This guidance document provides information on each of the required elements of an ECP, as follows:
  • What is Silica?
  • Purpose of the ECP
  • Responsibilities
  • Risk identification, assessment, and control
  • Education and training
  • Safe work procedures
  • Health monitoring
  • Documentation
(Word 476kb)
Exposure control plan for chipping concrete

Chipping or jackhammering concrete without proper dust controls can generate high levels of silica-containing dust. Breathing in this fine dust can cause a serious lung disease called silicosis, which is characterized by scarring and thickening of the lungs, and can result in death. This document will help employers develop an exposure control plan (ECP) for work involving chipping or jackhammering concrete.

(Word 102kb)
Exposure control plan for cutting concrete

Cutting concrete without proper dust controls can generate high levels of silica-containing dust. Breathing in this fine dust can cause a serious lung disease called silicosis, which is characterized by scarring and thickening of the lungs, and can result in death. This document will help employers develop an exposure control plan (ECP) for work involving concrete cutting. (Word 97kb)
Exposure control plan for cutting fibre cement board Cutting fibre cement board without proper dust controls can generate high levels of silica-containing dust. Breathing in this fine dust can cause a serious lung disease called silicosis, which is characterized by scarring and thickening of the lungs and can result in death. This information will help contractors develop an exposure control plan (ECP) for work involving the cutting of fibre cement board. (Word 97kb)
Exposure control plan for cutting, grinding, and polishing stone containing crystalline silica (quartz) The cutting, grinding, and polishing of stone (e.g., granite) without proper dust controls can generate high levels of silica-containing dust. Breathing in this fine dust can cause a serious lung disease called silicosis. This document will help employers develop an exposure control plan (ECP) for work involving the cutting, grinding, and polishing of stone containing crystalline silica.

(Word 112kb)
Exposure control plan for drilling concrete

Drilling into concrete without proper dust controls can generate high levels of silica-containing dust. Breathing in this fine dust can cause a serious lung disease called silicosis, which is characterized by scarring and thickening of the lungs, and can result in death. This document will help employers develop an exposure control plan (ECP) for work involving concrete drilling.

(Word 101kb)
Young workers: Keeping them safe from exposure to silica dust (An employer's guide)

This document offers strategies and resources to help employers prevent young worker exposure to silica dust in the workplace. It includes information about the risks associated with silica dust and offers links to safety talks, videos, and print resources.

Order #: PH109 (PDF 579KB)


Young workers: The jobsite might be making you sick...you just don't know it yet (How to protect yourself from exposure to silica dust)


This document provides young workers with information about the risk of silica dust exposure at work and highlights their rights and responsibilities. It includes information about the kind of work that puts them at risk and what they should do if they think they are not being properly protected from silica dust.

(PDF 481kb)