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Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) - Health Surveillance and Exposure Control


Exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) can cause a range of health issues, including breathing problems. Whilst silicosis is the disease most commonly associated with exposure to RCS, other conditions including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) may also develop. RCS exposure occurs across a wide range of industries, including brickmaking, stone masonry, quarrying, foundries and construction.
HSE estimates that around 500 deaths occur every year as a result of workplace exposures to RCS in Great Britain.

Because of these health risks, workers exposed to RCS may need to undergo periodic health surveillance, to confirm that they are healthy and ensure that they remain healthy. This surveillance is sometimes required by law.

Effective health surveillance carried to identify silicosis and COPD may involve asking the right questions about worker's health, performing accurate breathing tests and, occasionally, taking X-Rays. In 2015, HSE updated its guidance and advice about health surveillance for workers exposed to RCS.

This one-day course will deal with background issues, current practice and how things are changing in relation to health surveillance, particularly in light of the new HSE guidance. It will also provide information about controlling RCS exposures in the workplace.

The course will be delivered by medical and scientific experts who have direct experience of workers with RCS-related health problems and workplaces where exposure carries a significant health risk.

The course will cover

  • Background to silica, silicosis and other related breathing problems
  • Periodic health surveillance for RCS exposed workers; what's new
  • Use of questionnaires
  • Use of lung function testing
  • Use of chest X-Rays; and what to do if the chest X-Ray is found to be abnormal
  • Reducing RCS exposure in the workplace
  • The role of exposure monitoring in protecting worker health
  • Selection, use and maintenance of exposure controls

On completion of this course you will have an updated understanding of how RCS can harm the lungs; how to monitor the health of workers cost effectively; how to set up and run a health surveillance programme and how to include health issues in your risk assessments. You will also understand how to reduce exposure to RCS in your workplace, and the role that occupational hygienists play in protecting worker health.

Who should attend?

'Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) - Health Surveillance and Exposure Control' is aimed at health care professionals (normally doctors and / or nurses) who may be responsible for groups of workers exposed to RCS. Occupational health technicians and health and safety representatives may also find this course relevant to their role.


The course will be run at the HSE Science and Research Centre in the spa town of Buxton. Buxton is in the heart of the Peak District and has good links to mainline train stations and Manchester International Airport. This course can be run at your site or local area by arrangement.

Details of hotels in the Buxton area can be found at


£525 per person (includes course notes, lunch and refreshments).

Please note that all courses must be paid for via credit card at the time of booking.

Some of our training courses can also be delivered in-company, please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Telephone: +44 (0)203 028 3704

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