Many roofing-related hazards such as falls, cuts from sharp
tools and burns from hot asphalt are easily recognizable. But there
is a hazard that is not so easy to spot: silica dust.
Silica is present in concrete, roof tiles and other construction
materials that have sand as a component. When these materials are
cut, silica dust is released into the air. And when inhaled at
significant levels during a prolonged time period, silica dust can
cause silicosis, an incurable, progressive lung disease that can be
Silicosis causes scar tissue to form in the lungs, which reduces
the lungs' ability to extract oxygen from the air. According to the
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 200
construction workers die from silicosis each year.
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