Silica

Silica is a basic component in sand and rock, and is used in many materials found throughout Simon Fraser University including concrete, ceramics, brick, plaster and more. These materials do not pose a health hazard unless they are disturbed.

Compliance & oversight

SFU manages the silica-containing materials on campuses by maintaining oversight of all active construction projects and ensuring they meet compliance with government regulations and guidelines.

Background

Crystalline silica is a naturally-occurring mineral that is most commonly found as quartz.  It is used in many building materials including concrete, brick, ceramics and plaster which are present in many buildings found on SFU campuses.

Silica identification

Prior to impacting any building material on SFU campuses, the material needs to be assessed for the potential presence of silica.  Identification and assessment is most commonly done visually based on the type of material.  If there is a specific or uncommon material being impacted with the potential to contain silica, SFU will retain a third party qualified hazardous building materials consultant to assess and sample the material and have it analyzed by an accredited laboratory for silica content. 

Audits

Audits of the silica management program are routinely performed by EHS to ensure the program is running effectively.  EHS conducts representative work order reviews and ride-alongs with Facilities Services staff to ensure silica-containing materials are being handled and managed appropriately and in adherence to WorkSafeBC Regulations and Guidelines.

Government regulations

The governing authority for silica management in British Columbia is WorkSafeBC. Visit the WorkSafeBC – Silica website for regulatory requirements details, guidelines and best practices.