Silica in Construction Competent Person

  • Supervisor Level Course
  • New 2017 Content!
  • One Year Certificate
  • OSHA Compliant
Thursday, January 11

Crystalline silica is a common mineral found in the earth’s crust. Materials like sand, stone, concrete, and mortar contain crystalline silica. It is also used to make products such as glass, pottery, ceramics, bricks, and artificial stone.

Respirable crystalline silica – very small particles at least 100 times smaller than ordinary sand you might find on beaches and playgrounds – is created when cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling, and crushing stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar. Activities such as abrasive blasting with sand; sawing brick or concrete; sanding or drilling into concrete walls; grinding mortar; manufacturing brick, concrete blocks, stone countertops, or ceramic products; and cutting or crushing stone result in worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica dust. Industrial sand used in certain operations, such as foundry work and hydraulic fracturing (fracking), is also a source of respirable crystalline silica exposure. About 2.3 million people in the U.S. are exposed to silica at work.

Workers who inhale these very small crystalline silica particles are at increased risk of developing serious silica-related diseases, including:

Silicosis, an incurable lung disease that can lead to disability and death;

  • Lung cancer;
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); and
  • Kidney disease.

To better protect workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica, OSHA has issued two new respirable crystalline silica standards: one for construction, and the other for general industry and maritime. OSHA will begin enforcing most provisions of the standard for construction on September 23, 2017 and this course is in compliance with the training requirements listed in the standard.


This course is designed to teach you the various standard operating procedures needed to become a Respirable Silica in Construction Competent Person as defined by OSHA.


OSHA defines a competent person as, “One who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.”


  • Silica competent persons specifically identify and control silica hazards in construction settings by:
  • Effective implementation and management of a Written Exposure Control Plan
  • Anticipating the potential for silica exposure through an initial evaluation of the work site, through selecting, implementing, and managing the appropriate control strategy(ies) to reduce or eliminate exposures
  • Through monitoring the work site in order to take prompt corrective action to ensure that safe work conditions are maintained


  • A silica competent person is typically on site daily with this position being an additional duty (e.g., superintendent, lead foreman, on-site safety representative).

Course Topics

  • New OSHA Silica Standard
  • Background and health effects
  • Specified exposure control methods
  • Alternative exposure control methods
  • Respiratory protection
  • Housekeeping
  • Written exposure control plan
  • Medical surveillance
  • Recordkeeping

Regulations Satisfied

OSHA – CR 1926.1153(i)(2)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is crystalline silica?

How can exposure to crystalline silica affect workers’ health?

Who is at risk from exposure to crystalline silica?

What is the relationship between silica exposure and lung cancer?

How will the crystalline silica rule protect workers’ health?

There is evidence of a decline of silicosis cases in recent years. Why is the rule necessary if the silicosis problem in the U.S. seems to be going away?

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