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Course 851 - Silica Dust Safety in Construction

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Course 851 Certificate
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Modules: 6
Hours: 6
Sector: Construction

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Course 851 Silica Dust Safety in Construction

Key Topics

  • Forms of Silica Including Quartz, Cristobalite, and Tridymite
  • Visible and Respirable Dust
  • Exposure Control Plan Components
  • Exposure to Silica Dust
  • Silicosis and Symptoms of Exposure
  • Permissible Exposure Limits and Measuring Airborne Silica
  • Silica Dust Control Strategies
  • Wet and Dry Controls Methods
  • Dust Collection Systems
  • Exhaust Systems
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Medical Surveillance
  • Recordkeeping
  • Housekeeping
  • Best Practices in Cutting, Drilling, Hammering, Blasting, Milling, and Crushing

Target Audience

  • Employee
  • Supervisor
  • Trainer
  • Manager

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Course Introduction

Stop Silicosis - DOL
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Crystalline silica is a common mineral that is found in construction materials such as sand, stone, concrete, brick, and mortar. When workers cut, grind, drill, or crush materials that contain crystalline silica, very small dust particles are created. These tiny "respirable" particles can travel deep into workers' lungs and cause silicosis, an incurable and sometimes deadly lung disease.

Respirable crystalline silica also causes lung cancer, other potentially debilitating respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease. In most cases, these diseases occur after years of exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

OSHA's 29 CFR 1926.1153, Respirable crystalline silica requires employers to limit worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica and to take other steps to protect workers. Employers can either use a control method laid out in Table 1 of the construction standard, or they can measure workers' exposure to silica and independently decide which dust controls work best to limit exposures in their workplaces to the permissible exposure limit (PEL).

Among other things, the standard requires employers to:

  • Assess employee exposures to silica if it may be at or above an action level of 25 µg/m3 (micrograms of silica per cubic meter of air), averaged over an 8-hour day;
  • Protect workers from respirable crystalline silica exposures above the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 µg/m3, averaged over an 8-hour day;
  • Limit workers' access to areas where they could be exposed above the PEL;
  • Use dust controls to protect workers from silica exposures above the PEL;
  • Provide respirators to workers when dust controls cannot limit exposures to the PEL;
  • Use housekeeping methods that do not create airborne dust, if feasible;
  • Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers;
  • Offer medical exams - including chest X-rays and lung function tests - every three years for workers exposed at or above the action level for 30 or more days per year;
  • Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure; and
  • Keep records of exposure measurements, objective data, and medical exams.

In this course, we’ll discuss these new provisions with special emphasis on effective control measures eliminate or reduce exposure to safe levels.


To begin your training, click on the module links below. If you are just starting this course, you should start with module 1.

  1. The Basics
  2. Exposure to Silica Dust
  3. Silica Dust Control Strategies
  4. Administrative and Work Practice Controls
  5. Alternative Exposure Control Methods
  6. Respiratory Protection

Please login to your student dashboard to access and download this FREE course PDF studyguide. You can save this study guide to your computer for offline studying, or print the study guide if you prefer.

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Course 851 Final Exam

Exam score sheet

After studying the course material and answering the quiz questions, it is time to take the final exam. We highly recommend answering the module quiz questions to check your understanding of the course material. The final exam questions are typically developed from these quiz questions.

OSHAcademy course final exams are designed to make sure students have gained a sufficient understanding of the content covered within each course. To help demonstrate this understanding, students must achieve a passing score on course final exams. It is OSHAcademy's policy to protect the integrity of our exams: as a result, we do not provide missed questions to students.

This is an open book exam. Students are permitted to use a separate browser window to review course content while taking the exam. If you do not pass a final exam, you will see a "Retake Exam" button next to the course on your student dashboard.

If you have already paid for your certificate

If you have already paid for certificates, your exam score will be displayed on your student dashboard after successfully passing the final exam. If you chose PDF certificates, you can view and print your certificate and personal transcript from your student dashboard. If you chose original printed documents, they will be prepared and mailed to the address in your student account.

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1. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. (2016). NIOSH Silica Controls for Construction. Retrieved from:

2. CPWR/NIOSH. (2016). Model Silica Specifications Retrieved from:

3. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2016a). Safety and Health Topics, Silica, Crystalline. Retrieved from:

4. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2016b). Operating Handheld Masonry Saws. Retrieved from:

5. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2016c). Operating Handheld Masonry Saws. Retrieved from:

6. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2016d). Operating Handheld Grinders. Retrieved from:

7. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2016e). Operating Rotary Hammers. Retrieved from:

8. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2016f). Operating Vehicle Mounted Rock Drills. Retrieved from:

9. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2016g). Jackhammering. Retrieved from:

10. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2016h). Tuckpointing/Motar Removal. Retrieved from: