• Science of Safety Podcast: Episode 5.

    September 07, 2018

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 5:
    Silica in the Workplace – Part 1.

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 5:
    Silica in the Workplace – Part 1.

    Science of Safety Podcast.

    Episode 5:
    Silica in the Workplace – Part 1.


    In this episode host Mark Reggers discusses the serious issue of Silica in the workplace with guest Kate Cole. Kate is a Certified Occupational Hygienist and is the Manager of Occupational Health and Hygiene with Ventia.

    Silica, a basic component of soil, sand and rock is one of the most widespread minerals on earth existing in both crystalline and amorphous form. The crystalline form, which is more of a health concern, can be found in many common construction and building materials including: sand, stone, cement, concrete, asphalt, brick, tile, grout, mortar and drywall. Crystalline silica can become airborne during sanding, crushing, cutting, drilling and chipping. These tiny particles can be easily inhaled and travel deep into your lungs, repeated and long-term exposures have been linked to Silicosis and Lung Cancer. Some deadly respiratory illnesses caused by work can take up to 20 years to develop.





    Guest Bio:

    Kate Cole (pictured left) is a Certified Occupational Hygienist (COH) who has worked in the construction industry for almost two decades on projects in Australia, Hong Kong and the USA. She holds degrees in Science, Engineering, and Occupational Hygiene, and works on major projects involving complex contaminated land remediation and large-scale underground tunneling.

    She is currently the Manager of Occupational Health and Hygiene with Ventia, Kate works across most tunnels under construction in Sydney. She is currently supporting Transport for NSW on Australia’s largest public transport infrastructure project, the Sydney Metro as the Occupational Health and Hygiene Manager.

    In 2016 Kate was awarded a Winston Fellowship where visited numerous tunnel construction projects in Norway, Switzerland, UK and the USA to investigate best practice to prevent illness and disease in tunnel construction workers.

    LinkedIn Profile



    In this show, part 1 of 2, Mark & Kate discuss the following:


    • What is Silica?
    • Does the amount of silica vary between different stones and materials?
    • Are there different types of Silica?
    • What workplaces/environments are most likely to have silica where workers may potentially be exposed?
    • What activities may create dust containing RCS?
    • What else can happen in workplaces that may also cause exposure?
    • How much silica will cause harm to a worker?
    • Is this consistent with global exposure standards?
    • What health affects/diseases are caused by Respirable silica?

    Tune in to the podcast and learn how to protect yourself by finding out how the exposure levels at your workplace compare to the occupational exposure limits and make sure you have the right respiratory protection that will help keep your lungs safe.


    Additional Resources:


    Contact a 3M Safety Specialist at scienceofsafetyanz@mmm.com for more information