New EU Guidance Addresses Silica Risks in Construction

Published November 9, 2016

A document published in October by an occupational health and safety committee of the European Union identifies measures for controlling exposures to respirable crystalline silica for several work tasks routinely performed in the construction industry. Guidance for National Labour Inspectors on Addressing Risks from Worker Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) on Construction Sites (PDF) uses pictures to identify both poor work practices and recommended practices; suggests ways to design-out RCS hazards; recommends controls for RCS dust; and lists considerations for maintenance of mechanical controls and respiratory protection.

Among the controls discussed in the document are on-tool extraction of dust, wet methods for suppressing dust, use of appropriate respirators, and restriction of work areas where silica exposures are likely to occur.

The document was developed by the EU’s Senior Labour Inspectors Committee, which advises the European Commission on the enforcement of occupational health and safety laws throughout EU member states. For more information, visit the website of the Dutch Labour Inspectorate.