G2 Investigates Silica Inhalation Exposure Risk at Manufacturing Company

Workers in the construction, mining, oil and gas extraction, foundry, and stone countertop fabrication industries are often exposed to respirable crystalline silica (RCS)—very small particles at least 100 times smaller than the ordinary sand you might find on beaches and playgrounds. Unlike sand at the beach, however, RCS is not something to play around with. Workers who inhale these very small particles are at an increased risk of developing silicosis —an incurable lung disease that can lead to disability and death—as well as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.

For workers at a manufacturing company in Oregon, their potential RCS exposure comes from bagging a powder product that contains silica. The company reached out to G2 for an industrial hygiene assessment that included personal sampling for RCS and respirable dust.

The sampling was performed on four employees, including a wet plant operator, two dry plant operators, and a yard operator. The approach of sampling multiple employees is critical to reduce the risk of side effects from inhaling RCS and to gain a better understanding about employee exposure to these chemicals.

G2’s sampling process consists of collecting information to characterize the types, durations, and frequencies of hazards encountered during the workday. Based on the outcome of the sampling, G2 will make recommendations to reduce the potential employee exposure and keep you in compliance with OSHA regulations.

The results of G2’s assessment for the manufacturing company in Oregon were compared to the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (OR-OSHA) Action Level (AL) and Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for silica.

Read the case study to see the eight actionable recommendations G2 provided to ensure the manufacturing company remained in compliance and provided a safe work environment for their employees.