Date of Award

Fall 2015

Degree Type

Non-Thesis Project

Degree Name

MS Industrial Hygiene


Industrial Hygiene

Committee Chair

Julie Hart

First Advisor

Terry Spear


This paper discusses the issues, objectives, methods, results and conclusion of how to control/reduce the respirable crystalline silica exposure to construction workers in the organization hereafter referred to as the “Company.” This evaluation will be achieved by assessing the following occupational exposure tools: literature review, work practices, engineering controls and personal protective equipment (PPE) on exposures to silica during construction activities. The construction activities observed, studied, researched and sampled include concrete sawing, concrete cutting and application, and dry/wet sanding drywall mud.

High construction tasks, for example, produce respirable dusts often containing crystalline silica. Such tasks include concrete saw cutting and concrete core drilling. Even in interior construction efforts, such activities as drywall finishing, which involve dry and wet sanding and applying, can increase the rate of exposure to crystalline silica.

After reviewing the sampling results and the conclusions of the literary review articles, findings show it is possible for workers to reduce exposures to silica during the construction activities discussed in this study, through work practices, engineering controls and PPE. The long-term benefit of upfront adoption of the work practices, engineering controls and PPE is consistent with the conservative approach the Company embraced regarding the safety and well-being of its workers, and may possibly prevent future cases of over-exposure to silica.


A report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science Industrial Hygiene Distance Learning / Professional Track Montana Tech of the University of Montana 2015