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Controlling Exposures to Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS)

11 March 2025


Silica is a natural substance found in rocks, sand and clay and in many common construction products such as bricks and concrete. In the workplace these materials create dust when they are handled, especially when cut or ground. Some of this dust is fine enough to breathe deeply into the lungs and cause serious health problems. The fine dust is called respirable crystalline silica (RCS).

RCS exposure occurs across a wide range of industries, including brickmaking, stone masonry, quarrying, foundries and construction. In the construction industry it is the biggest hazard to worker health after asbestos.

HSE estimates that around 500 deaths occur every year in Great Britain as a result of workplace exposures to RCS.

Whilst silicosis is the disease most commonly associated with exposure to RCS, other conditions including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) may also develop. All of these health conditions are irreversible, but, with proper control of workplace exposures, they are also preventable.

This one-day course will introduce delegates to the topic and explain why, and where, RCS is an issue. The course will give an overview on the design and implementation of appropriate exposure control approaches, the role of exposure monitoring in managing RCS risk and real-world insights on barriers to achieving adequate risk control and common failings.

The course will be delivered by professionally qualified occupational hygienists, supported by other scientific experts, who are highly knowledgeable about RCS-related health problems and have real-world experience in helping workplaces where exposure carries a significant health risk.

Learning outcomes

Delegates will be provided with information that will help them to:

  • Understand how RCS can harm the lungs
  • Achieve compliance with the COSHH regulations in situations where RCS is a risk
  • Understand which work activities and processes carry the highest risk
  • Understand how to reduce exposure to RCS in their workplace and common failures in exposure control
  • Understand how exposure monitoring should be used to support health risk management and the role that occupational hygienists play in protecting worker health

What the course will cover

This course provides an overview of where significant risks from RCS can be expected. The main focus of the course is on preventing harm through the implementation of effective exposure control strategies, with detailed information on the selection and implementation of effective measures to reduce airborne dust emissions and the role of respiratory protective equipment. The course will also cover the role of exposure monitoring in managing risks from RCS, including how to design an appropriate exposure monitoring strategy and how to interpret results from a monitoring exercise.

Who should attend?

This course is aimed at those with a responsibility for managing RCS exposure risks within a workplace. This includes people responsible for the completion of risk and COSHH assessments, or selecting and maintaining exposure controls.


The course will be run at the HSE Science and Research Centre in the spa town of Buxton.

Buxton is in the heart of the Peak District and has good links to major roads and motorways, mainline train stations and Manchester International Airport.

Details of hotels in the Buxton area can be found at


£560 per person (includes course notes, lunch and refreshments).

Book Course

Please note that all courses must be paid for via credit card at the time of booking.

Some of our training courses can also be delivered in-company, please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Telephone: +44 (0)203 028 3704

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