NIOSH: Mining Research Could Help Construction Industry Reduce Silica Exposures

Published November 8, 2017

​In October, the NIOSH Mining and Construction Programs and CPWR—the Center for Construction Research and Training held a webinar about protecting workers in enclosed cabs from silica exposure, which is a concern in both the mining and construction industries. Andy Cecala, a researcher in the NIOSH Mining Division, shared findings from mining research that could help the construction industry reduce these exposures. Cecala focused on filtration and pressurization systems for enclosed cabs and environmental enclosures. According to his presentation, NIOSH’s research goal was to optimize filtering and pressurization efficiency to minimize respirable crystalline silica dust exposure and provide maximum air quality in enclosed cabs, operator booths, and control rooms.

Two representatives from OSHA's Directorate of Standards and Guidance, Joe Coble and Patricia Downs, addressed requirements for enclosed cabs under Table 1 of the agency’s new silica standard. Table 1 (PDF) specifies exposure control methods when working with materials containing crystalline silica, and enclosed cabs are listed under “engineering and work practice control methods.”

The webinar lasted approximately an hour and is archived on YouTube. The presenters’ slides are available as a PDF download.

More information and resources from the NIOSH Mining Division are available on the agency’s website.