Few studies have examined rheumatoid arthritis (RA) risk and severity in Korean workers exposed to silica. We compared the hospitalization risk of RA between silica-exposed workers and the general Korean population. The study cohort consisted of male workers exposed to silica who had undergone at least one silica-associated special medical examination between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2004 (N = 149,948). The data were from the Korea Occupation Safety and Health Agency. RA morbidity based on hospital admission records was estimated from 2000 to 2005 using the Korea National Health Insurance Service claims data. The standardized admission ratio (SAR) was calculated by dividing the observed number of admissions in silica-exposed workers by the expected number of admissions in the general reference population. For the sum of “Seropositive rheumatoid arthritis” (M05) and “Other rheumatoid arthritis” (M06), the SAR was higher in the silica-exposed group (1.34, 95% CI 1.08–1.64). For M05, workers with <10 years of silica exposure had a significantly higher SAR (2.54, 95% CI 1.10–5.01) than the general population. More silica-exposed workers without a diagnosis of pneumoconiosis were hospitalized for RA than the general population. Our analysis reaffirms the link between silica exposure and RA and suggests that the severity of RA is increased by silica. Further studies of silica-exposed workers with longer follow-up are needed.