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This time of year, your exposure to silica dust is at an all-time high and you need to be protected from it. Part of that effort includes medical surveillance. The purpose of medical surveillance is:

  • To identify silica-related adverse health effects so that appropriate intervention measures can be taken;
  • To determine if you can be exposed to silica in your workplace without increased risk of experiencing adverse health effects, or in other words, to determine if you have any condition, regardless of the cause, that might make you more sensitive to silica exposure; and
  • To determine your fitness to use respirators.

Respirator use 30 or more days per year

The standard for construction requires your employer to make medical surveillance available to you if you use a respirator for 30 or more days per year.

To do so, your employer is required to determine if you will be required to wear a respirator under the construction standard for 30 or more days per year (that is, the next 365 days), and then make a medical examination available to you:

  • Within 30 days of initial assignment, unless you have a current examination that meets the requirements of this rule within the last three years; and
  • Within three years from the last initial or periodic examination.

The medical surveillance must be offered at no cost to you and be done at a reasonable time and place.

Medical exam

The medical exam must consist of a physical examination, chest x-ray, and lung function tests.

All medical examinations and procedures must be performed by a physician or other licensed health care professional.


Like any medical procedure, the medical exam can be a source of stress. However, it is necessary to help protect you from serious illness.

HANDOUT: Silica Hazards and Exposures