silica dust vacuums

Is silica dust dangerous? Absolutely. Crystalline silica dust poses a considerable risk to health in specific work environments. It’s a carcinogenic and mutagenic substance known to cause severe respiratory problems like silicosis and other lung diseases. For this reason, ensuring safe working conditions for individuals exposed to silica dust is mandatory.

Implementing effective preventive measures is essential to minimize these hazards, and all regulations recognize them as:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Proper Ventilation
  • Dust Extraction

Where is silica dust found and where does it come from?

Numerous work activities release crystalline silica dust, spanning various sectors:

  • Floor grinding: a method to achieve a sleek, even, and glossy floor surface. Working with materials like concrete or ceramic tiles that contain silica produces crystalline silica dust.
  • Building and construction: cutting, drilling, sandblasting, and milling of material with silica dust in it (e.g. concrete, brick, stone).
  • Stone processing or mining: processes that involve crushing, grinding, screening, and transporting siliceous rocks (granite, slate, quartz, etc.).
  • Pharmaceutical industry: Amorphous silica is used in manufacturing dental pastes.
  • Foundries: Employing silica sand for casting molds where molten metal is poured.
  • Glass manufacturing: using silica sand as a primary raw material.
  • Textile industry: denim sandblasting processes.
  • Cement manufacturing: a silica-containing mixture is used for clinker production.
silica dust

International and American legislation on crystalline silica dust

In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was the first to regulate the maximum possible exposure to silica dust and issued specific standards for the management of crystalline silica dust.

It is mandatory to take control of employees’ dust exposure by following OSHA’s recommended methods for removing silica dust particulates. Utilize proper industrial vacuums to minimize hazards during material breakage and implement engineering control measures to extract, ventilate, and eliminate silica dust near production areas will protect workers’ health and let your company be compliant to regulations.

Requirements for employers

The landmark regulation for respirable crystalline silica dust is OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1926.1153, which establishes the following requirements for employers:

  • Reduce worker exposure below the permitted exposure limit (PEL) of 50 µg/m3, calculated as a time-weighted average over 8 hours
  • Implement control measures already in the design of work environments, such as local exhaust ventilation or humidification, to limit the amount of airborne dust.
  • Provide workers with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) respirators
  • Restrict access to areas where workers are exposed to levels above the PEL
  • Offer workers exposed to levels above the PEL for 30 or more days per year a periodic medical examination, including a chest X-ray and spirometry
  • Train workers on the risks associated with crystalline silica dust 
  • Maintain records of exposures


Regulations recognize the use of HEPA dust extractors as a top-notch solution for mitigating risks associated with silica dust. These extractors must have specific features to ensure their suitability for silica dust applications:

  • Longopac collection systems: A continuous roll system with an adjustable length of 20 meters. IT allows for the avoidance of direct contact with fine dust, ensuring maximum operator safety.
  • Power and Flow Rate: HEPA Dust Extractors must possess the necessary power and airflow to effectively capture dust, leaving behind no dispersible residue and ensuring a secure working environment.
  • HEPA Multi-levels filter system

HEPA Filters for silica dust

How to protect your workers from silica dust, according to OSHA regulations? By filtering with the maximum efficiency the fine silica dust that generates when cutting, grinding, drilling or sanding materials such as concrete, brick, stone, and tiles.

H14 filters are designed to remove a high percentage of airborne particles, including those as small as 0.18 micrometers, with an efficiency of at least 99.995%.

Contact Us

Request a free quote