Respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is a major cause of long latency disease. HSE commissioned research estimated that over 600 construction workers die each year as a result of exposure to RCS. RCS appears on HSE's top ten list of occupational carcinogens which should be prioritised for future intervention.
In Great Britain, activities which present a risk of RCS exposure fall within the scope of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 (as amended). Under COSHH there is a primary duty to prevent exposure to substances hazardous to health. Where this is not reasonably practicable, the duty is to ensure that exposures are adequately controlled.