Salem, OR — Oregon OSHA has launched a free online training course to help employers put protective measures in place for workers against the potential hazards of breathing in airborne crystalline silica dust.
Any worker exposed to dust that contains crystalline silica – from crushed rock, soil, dirt, gravel, or sand, for example – should be concerned about silicosis, a lung disease caused by breathing dust that contains particles of crystalline silica – particles so tiny you can seem them only with a microscope.
Featuring powerful visuals, personal stories, instructional videos, links to resources, and a certificate of completion, the training course is designed to boost the ability of employers to meet the requirements of Oregon OSHA’s silica rules. It offers a tool to employers and workers to bolster their existing training programs.
“Employers and workers need solid training resources to help light the way toward improvements in the health and safety of their workplaces,” said Julie Love, interim administrator for Oregon OSHA. “And it is in the spirit of continuous improvement that we designed and built this free and flexible training course to address the risks of silica dust.”
Common sources of exposure to silica dust include cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing concrete, brick, ceramic tiles, rock, and stone products. When inhaled, silica particles become trapped in the lungs and damage the tissue. The lung tissue scars and forms small rounded masses called nodules. Over time, the nodules grow, making breathing increasingly difficult.
The training course covers a variety of topics. They include the different forms of silica and where it can be found; job activities involving building materials that can cause silica dust to become airborne and breathable; Oregon OSHA’s silica standard and its provisions to protect workers; and instructional videos showing protective steps workers can take while using powered tools.
The course is now available. A Spanish-language version of the course is in development.
For more information about Oregon OSHA’s silica rules, visit the A-to-Z topic page, which includes guides, fact sheets, and checklists. For help with improving workplace health and safety programs – including addressing silica dust hazards – contact Oregon OSHA’s consultation services, which are free and involve no fault, no citations, and no penalties.
For help understanding Oregon OSHA’s on-the-job health and safety requirements, contact our experts. For more learning opportunities, visit our education and training resources and review our A-to-Z topic index.