Crystalline Silica Awareness

SKU: C-524Duration: 23 Minutes

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Course Details


Training Time: 23 minutes

Compatibility: Desktop, Tablet, Phone

Based on: OSHA CFR 29 Part 1910.1053

Languages: English, Spanish

Crystalline silica is a form of silicon dioxide which occurs naturally in the Earth's crust. When it is broken up by high energy activities into small airborne respirable particles, it can cause serious health hazards when inhaled. The symptoms caused by inhalation may not be immediately apparent. It is critical that individuals working around crystalline silica are knowledgeable of its physical properties, understand its safety risks, and know how to effectively avoid exposure. With the proper protective measures, training, and PPE, exposure to respirable crystalline silica can be reduced to the point that it is no longer a health threat to those who must work around it.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify materials which are capable of generating crystalline silica in the workplace
  • List some industries associated with crystalline silica
  • List the diseases caused by crystalline silica exposure
  • Describe the effects of the diseases caused by exposure
  • Describe how to avoid exposure to crystalline silica
  • Differentiate between engineering controls and administrative controls
  • Describe specific engineering and administrative controls for limiting exposure
  • Identify appropriate personal protective equipment to help prevent exposure
  • Describe the correct steps to take in case of an exposure emergency

Key Questions

The following key questions are answered in this module:

What are some industries where you are likely to be exposed to crystalline silica?
Crystalline silica is generated in many industries; examples include mining, construction, agriculture and glass manufacturing.

Where does respirable crystalline silica come from?
Crystalline silica is a common mineral. Anytime a high energy operation such as cutting, grinding, or crushing is performed on a silica-containing material, small particles of dangerous respirable dust are formed.

What kinds of diseases can exposure to crystalline silica lead to?
Over a period of time, exposure to respirable crystalline silica can lead to a number of diseases. These include silicosis, pulmonary tuberculosis, lung cancer, autoimmune disorders and kidney disease.

How should exposure to crystalline silica be controlled?
Engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment can all be used to prevent or reduce exposure to respirable silica.

What kind of respirator should be used to limit exposure to respirable silica?
A variety of respirators are available and they are rated by their APF, or assigned protection factor. The proper type of respirator needed is determined by the measured concentration of crystalline silica in the air.

Sample Video Transcript

Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:

Silica becomes dangerous when is exists as small particles, or dust, that can be inhaled. Visible dust contains large particles that can be seen, and tiny, respirable-sized particles that are 100 times smaller than the grains of sand on a beach. These tiny particles which are so small that they are not even visible are the most dangerous, because they can get drawn deep into the lungs. Most dust-generating activities produce a mixture of visible and respirable particles. There are many situations where there is a higher concentration of airborne respirable dust than what is visible to the naked eye. When crystalline silica is inhaled, the fine particles are drawn into the lungs and become trapped. These particles do not breakdown and over time they irritate and scar lung tissue, causing severe complications.
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