Updated Guidance for Brick and Tile Manufacturing, Stonework and Foundries

September 26, 2022
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Silica is a natural substance found in most stone, rocks, sand, quartz and clay. This can be released as dust during a number of manufacturing tasks. Breathing silica dust or respirable crystalline silica (RCS) can lead to a number of lung diseases including silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.

Both silicosis and COPD cause breathing problems and when someone already has silicosis, there is an increased risk of lung cancer following heavy and prolonged exposure to RCS dust can cause lung cancer.

There are a number of controls that can be put in place to eliminate or reduce the risk. These include:

  • Measures to reduce the amount of RCS dust generated, for example using materials with lower silica content or keeping materials damp
  • Measures to control exposure such as separating the worker from the dust for example by automating and enclosing processes, providing effective dust extraction and ventilation etc
  • Ensuring that any controls such as local exhaust ventilation systems are well maintained
  • Having effective cleaning regimes
  • Ensuring workers understand the risks and apply the controls, and
  • Providing suitable PPE including respiratory protective equipment

The Health and Safety Executive recently updated their guidance regarding silica in brick and tile manufacturing, stonework, and foundries.

Also, starting in October, HSE inspectors will begin a push to target businesses in the manufacturing sector where materials that contain silica are used.

You can find the updated guidance at:

Brick and Tile – https://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/essentials/direct-advice/brick-tile-silica.htm

Foundry – https://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/essentials/direct-advice/foundry.htm

Stone workers – https://www.hse.gov.uk/coshh/essentials/direct-advice/stonemasons.htm

If you have any questions about creating appropriate measures to manage silica safely, contact our helpful team using the form below.