Industrial Hygiene

Respirable Crystalline Silica Exposure Control Program

Silica, or silicon dioxide (SiO2), is a mineral that occurs naturally in both crystalline and non-crystalline (amorphous) forms. Quartz is the most abundant form of crystalline silica and the most common mineral found on the earth’s crust. Materials such as sand, stone, concrete, and mortar all contain crystalline silica. Crystalline silica is also used in the manufacturing of many products such as glass, pottery, ceramics, bricks, and artificial stone. All forms of respirable crystalline silica (quartz, cristobalite, tridymite) are considered hazardous.

The UCSB Crystalline Silica Exposure Control Plan, establishes procedures and responsibilities for UCSB faculty, staff, students, and volunteers while engaged in University related activities. This document applies to all campus exposures to respirable crystalline silica (RCS), except where objective data demonstrates that exposure to RCS will remain below 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air (0.025 mg/m3) as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) under any foreseeable conditions.

Supervisor & Departmental Responsibilities

Departments and their supervisors have the primary responsibility of ensuring the health and safety of their employees. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Identifying existing and foreseeable respirable crystalline silica hazards in the workplace and taking prompt corrective measures to eliminate or minimize them;
  • Ensuring an up-to-date Inventory of Tasks Performed with Materials Containing Crystalline Silica form (Appendix A) has been submitted to the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) for their unit, if applicable;
  • Maintaining and implementing an up to date Local Exposure Control Plan;
  • Ensuring that all workers (under the supervisor’s direction and control) have received the necessary education and training.  As appropriate, each supervisor must ensure that workers are available to “demonstrate competency” for identified tasks;
  • Ensuring that all tools, equipment, PPE, and materials (including water) necessary to implement the Local Exposure Control Plan are available (and in proper working order) prior to allowing work activities to commence;
  • Ensuring that workers adhere to the Local Exposure Control Plan, including PPE and personal hygiene (i.e., no facial hair where the respirator seals to the user’s face) requirements;
  • Ensuring individuals who will be occupationally exposed to respirable crystalline silica at or above the action level for 30 or more days per year are included in the UCSB Silica Medical Surveillance Program.

EH&S Resources & Services

Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) has administrative responsibility for the UCSB Respirable Crystalline Silica Exposure Control Program, and will assist departments in meeting their requirements under the program upon request. Specific EH&S Responsibilities and Resources are listed below:

  • Developing and maintaining the UCSB Respirable Crystalline Silica Exposure Control Plan and ensuring it meets applicable regulatory requirements;
  • Reviewing completed Inventory of Tasks Performed with Materials Containing Crystalline Silica forms (Appendix A) and performing exposure assessments and monitoring as required;
  • Reviewing and recommending exposure controls;
  • Maintaining applicable records (i.e., exposure monitoring, inspections, respirator fit tests, training records, etc.) in accordance with applicable requirements.

Additional Resources

For questions regarding the UCSB Respirable Crystalline Silica Exposure Control Program please email RPP@ehs.ucsb.edu or call 805.893.8787 or 805.893.3743.