Writing in the fourth century BC, the Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates noted how miners would become breathless from breathing in dust. Fast forward to the 1930s and the US Department of Labor undertook a study that highlighted the hazards of respirable crystalline silica after a spate of worker deaths. Yet despite this precedent, today the construction industry has the largest number of reported cases of occupational lung disease of any industrial sector. With preventative measures and effective PPE readily available (and inexpensive), awareness of the dangers of exposure to silica dust – and other substances such as asbestos – is paramount to reducing the number of casualties.