RCS workplace exposure prevention

Industry has been and remains a strong advocate of the prevention of workers exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS).

Prescribed regulatory occupational exposure limits for RCS exist in almost all European Member States (see OELs list).

"Works involving exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust generated by a work process" are included in Directive (EU) 2017/2398 of 12 December 2017 amending Directive 2004/37/EC on the Protection of workers from the risks related to carcinogens or mutagens at work (OJ L345). A Binding Occupational Exposure Limit value of 0.1 mg/m³ for respirable crystalline silica dust is set in Annex III of the Directive.

In 2006, industry (employers and employees of 14 industry sectors) developed 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.

Published in the EC Official Journal (OJ 2006/C279/02), translated into 22 languages, the Agreement gave rise to the biggest ever awareness campaign on the risks related to exposure to RCS. The Agreement includes a mandatory reporting every two years of its application on site and the effects are visible on the workplaces concerned. The signatories of the Agreement are committed to pursue more research related to the risks of exposure and to regularly update and complete the good practices.

Full information available at www.nepsi.eu.

Recital 19 of Directive 2017/2398 recognises the good practices of the NEPSI Agreement as "valuable and necessary instruments to complement regulatory measures and in particular to support the effective implementation of limit values".


RCS Workplace Legislation


IDPA Safe Handling Guide