1.16. What preventive measures are applied by industry?
Industry believes that elimination of silicosis is central to the reduction of the risk.
Indeed, although a causal link between silicosis and lung cancer has not been demonstrated, the experts today agree that silicotics are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer. Up to now, all regulatory expert groups who considered the crystalline silica dossier recognised that reduction of exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust would be the key preventive action for risks related to exposure, including the cancer risk, if any.
Waiting for the conclusions of the running scientific debate, strict compliance with prescribed occupational exposure limits, which have proved effective in controlling the risk of silicosis, and strict control of the workplace environment and working methods should guarantee the required level of workers’ protection.
To this aim, industry (employers and employees) developed in 2006 a Good Practice Guide on Workers’ Health Protection through the Good Handling and Use of Crystalline Silica and Products Containing it. This is the basis of a Social Dialogue Agreement and contains 65 task sheets describing good practice techniques for many work activities. The task sheets identify appropriate control measures that will assist employers in reducing exposure levels to respirable crystalline silica to a minimum. Full information available at www.nepsi.eu.
Similarly in the US, the Industrial Minerals Association – North America (IMA-NA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration developed together in January 2008 “A Practical Guide to an Occupational Health Program for Respirable Crystalline Silica”, http://www.msha.gov/alliances/formed/IG103.pdf