Occupational (OSHA) and Environmental Hazards/Concrete Dust, Silicosis


Hi Bubba,

 I have been working at a newly built construction site for about a year and have been feeling shortness of breath and get tired really easily when lifting, running or excerising to the point where I've had to slow it down-- wondering if it could be related to the dust? During a typical 8 hr workday I spent a lot of time overhead drilling into concrete with a normal hammerdrill to fasten conduit with some holes as big as 1/2 inch, with quite a bit of dust escaping into the air (NO vaccumm dust controls). I didn't use a mask(didn't know the risk) and when I do now it now I use  a cheap disposable, not a respirator. Will this protect me? Sometimes the spaces are enclosed and other times someone comes along and dry-sweep the floors, kicking the dust into the air all around me. There is a lot of dust in the air and I am quite young and don't want to die in 5 or 10 years of silicosis because of this:( I found out how harmful it is last week when some guys came in sandblasting- the following day they were fired for not informing us and sandblasting the floors while we were right there in the area - That was only for 1 day though. Does this sound like the concrete dust could be related to my shortness of breath? Would one year of daily exposure put me at serious risk? If so, maybe I should change jobs. If it's not too late. I also hear chest x-rays can go undetected for years so that might not be a helpful idea. I'm really scared right now and don't know if I'm over-reacting on this issue or not but any information would be appreciated.

Thank you Bubba

Thank you for this question.

The short answer is I do not think you are over-reacting to this issue. I recommend you do see your physician to at least get a check up on your condition. Be sure and take the MSDS for the concrete with you.

I also think this should be discussed with your company's safety director (if they have one) or call in Canadian OSHA to investigate this. I know that Canada's safety regulations are very strict with regards towards exposures of any kind, and you should be protected from the exposures.

Without being there and seeing the entire situation you are in, this is the best I can do for you. I hope it helps you.

Occupational (OSHA) and Environmental Hazards

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Bubba Essary


I have 27 years in the Construction Safety Industry. I can answer questions relating to construction safety for industrial, commercial, heavy high & bridge, residential, and power plants.


I have 27 years experience in both construction and general industrial safety. I have worked many projects from offshore marine construction, large industrial projects, automotive construction projects, shipyard construction, petrochemical and refinery construction, both fossil fuel and gas turbine power plants to name a few. I have worked for clients such as Fluor Daniels, Texas Utilities, Proctor & Gamble, Daimler Chrysler, General Motors and J. Ray McDermott.

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