Protecting Machine Operators from Silica Dust: Enclosed Cabs

  Construction workers who operate heavy equipment such as excavators, bulldozers, cranes, and backhoes frequently generate large quantities of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) dust. Exposure to even small amounts of RCS over time can cause silicosis, lung cancer, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other serious diseases. A recent study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that 79% of the 100,000 workers exposed to RCS above the recommended exposure limit (REL), worked in the construction industry [Doney et al. 2020]. The NIOSH REL is designed to minimize adverse health effects from exposure to RCS from a