Federal agencies Silica Workplace exposures Coal Metallic Non-metallic Mining_Oil_Gas

NIOSH finalizes silica monitoring software for miners


Washington — NIOSH has finalized the beta version of an online software tool designed to provide post-shift assessments of mine worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

Officially released in June after its initial unveiling in September 2018, the Field Analysis of Silica Tool uses portable infrared technology to analyze exposure to crystalline silica – a carcinogen found in sand, stone and artificial stone. The software accounts for changing mine conditions to provide accurate and immediate readings of respirable crystalline silica levels, offering same- or next-day results, NIOSH states.

“There are no major functional differences between the beta and official release versions, other than the fact that the official release version has gone through all necessary software validations, reviews, clearances and approvals,” an NIOSH spokesperson told Safety+Health.


OSHA states that 2.3 million workers nationwide are exposed to silica. When inhaled, tiny particles that stem from cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling and crushing stone, rock, concrete, brick, blocks and mortar increase the risk of serious silica-related diseases such as silicosis – an incurable lung disease. Workers exposed to silica are also at risk for kidney disease, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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