Coming in November 2023
Beginning in November 2023, workers and employers in the Ontario Construction Industry will receive full access to the Silica Control Tool™, its associated data, and outputs. The Tool’s user interface has undergone a facelift for Ontario and has been fully customized to meet Ontario’s health and safety regulation and standards.
“While it was built for the BC construction industry, the Silica Control Tool™ was always developed and its intellectual property protected with an eye to expanding the use of the product outside BC,” he says. “We’ve seen interest from countries including Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom, but we’re gratified that our Ontario partners appreciated the potential of the Tool to the degree that they requested this pilot.”
“Engaging users outside of the province would allow us to operate the Silica Control Tool™ at a greater economy of scale,” says Kavazovic. “That would help to subsidize the Alliance’s operating costs, lowering the cost per user. Adding more silica sample data points and expanding the available exposure control methods will make the Tool more effective for everyone.”
The Silica Control Tool:
- is designed to generate respirable crystalline silica (RCS) dust exposure estimates for various processes, such as sanding drywall or chipping concrete;
- is ever evolving and is currently based on a database of greater than 4000 personal RCS measurements;
- assists employers in conducting appropriate risk assessments and implementing effective controls and safe work practices where RCS dust may be an occupational hazard;
- predicts exposure levels with and without controls and compares both to the accepted exposure limit;
- uses a predictive equation bases on regression modelling, using data from our exposure database (including data from consultants, industry, and government sources);
- generates both electronic and paper Exposure Control Plans.
The Tool ultimately identifies processes that may lead to exposures over the allowable exposure control limit, provides information about how to bring the exposure within the allowable limit, and produces a corresponding Exposure Control Plan (ECP) for the user.
Other ways the tool can benefit employers:
- The Tool is updated in response to user requests and new data, and so reflects real-world construction industry activities and practices
- Ongoing silica sampling – recent/local data, literature review, new activities added to the SCT, new controls, filling in gaps – means current and reliable data is used to generate silica exposure estimates
- Helps educate employers and workers
- Reduces effort and cost (e.g., conducting air sampling, which can cause delays in work activities)
- Improves quality of exposure data used in risk assessment
- No need to rely on in-house measurements or industrial hygiene expertise, which can be lacking in smaller companies (92% of BC employers have less than 10 employees, and 85% have less than 5)
Developed by the BCCSA in 2016, the Silica Control Tool™ is backed by research from a team at the University of British Columbia (UBC) School of Population and Public Health at the Faculty of Medicine.
This project is made possible by funding from and collaboration with: