Prevent Silicosis

Silicosis is a serious respiratory illness caused by the inhalation of fine crystalline silica produced during
cutting, grinding and polishing of stone, concrete or brick. Workers at greatest risk are those in construction
and building, mining (including abrasive blasting and tunnelling), quarrying, slate works,
potteries and tile and brick making.
Silicosis is one of the oldest occupational diseases in the world and affects stonemasons exposed to
silica the world over. BUT, the disease is not confined to developing countries; in Edinburgh, over the
last 6 years, six young men (under the age of 39) working as stonemasons have been diagnosed with
the illness which should be entirely preventable (1).
In the UK in 2012 there were 11 deaths reported due to the condition (2). Identifying individuals who
have early stages of the diseases before symptoms occur can be achieved. Regular lung checks
(annually) called ‘Health Surveillance’ is done for this and are recommended by the Health and Safety
Executive (HSE). The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends all workers exposed to crystalline
silica have lifelong health surveillance including regular chest X- rays.
OHSAS can undertake these simple lung checks for your workers and colleagues. The initial assessments can
be done ‘on site’ and take about 30 minutes per person. Subsequent assessment (e.g. chest X rays) have to be
undertaken off site.
The publication of the recent diagnosis of six workers in Edinburgh with silicosis is an important reminder to
companies in Scotland that this condition till occurs despite use of occupational hygiene measures, engineering
controls, and the use of personal protective equipment when lung checks are not done.
Don’t let your silica exposed workers be next to develop this illness: Ask OHSAS to do the checks.
Please contact OHSAS external business unit on
JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING  or tel:  for more details and a quote