Occupational (OSHA) and Environmental Hazards/Silica sand breathing hazard



Is it safe to use Silica sand loose inside the house?

In my fireplace their is one layer of loose fire bricks to make the firebox floor higher. Around and In-between the loose bricks is Silica sand to help lock them together.  I have read that Silica is not safe to breath if it becomes dust.  Is it safe to use Silica sand inside my house/fireplace?

Thank you


Without seeing the composition of the sand that you intend to use it would be difficult to make this judgement.It is also important to know the quantities and whether the person using the sand had any underlying health conditions.  

I generally deal with workplaces where silica is an intricate part of a component and there is an element of working with the material either to cut into it, process or grind it.  The size of the molecule is a significant part of how far the molecule or dust particle travels into the depths of the lung.

My advice would be to contact the manufacturer or supplier of the silica sand for more information about the constituents of the silica sand - ask for the Material safety data sheet on the sand you intend purchasing.

I would imagine that once the sand is set then it would be be safe but the process of setting out the sand might need special masks.  However, without knowing the exact details I cannot really say for sure.

You might want to look at these references for more help:

I hope that helps


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Jane Coombs


I am based in the UK and advise industry, OH practitioners and businesses for the past 25 years on Occupational Health and Health and Safety matters.


My particular area of expertise is around identifying and controlling hazards and risks in different workplaces to include call centres, hospitals, manufacturing, construction, food production plus working closely with HR to ensure action taken for long term absence or disability issues are dealt with in a fair manner taking into account current UK legislation.

Chartered Member of Institute of Occupational Safety and Health On the Safety Consultants Register Royal College of Nursing Professional registration with Nursing Midwifery Council

How to Start a Healthy Business: An Insiders Guide to Occupational Health Success eBook published on Amazon Occupational Health Magazine - Alcohol http://www.working-well-solutions.com blog Review of Construction Industry Standards Part 2 - for UK Construction Industry available on line at www.cbhscheme.com or hard copy for members of CBH 35 guidance documents for knowledge base England's free advice line for SME's http://www.health4work.nhs.uk/

Masters in Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Management Diploma in Management Occupational Health Nursing Certificate (registered with the Nursing Midwifery Council on the 3rd Part of the Register in Public Health) Diploma in Health and Safety

Awards and Honors
Runner up in class for Occupational Health magazine 'best occupational health service' 2009

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