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What Are The Current Silica Exposure Standards & Guidelines?



The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America's workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The rule is comprised of two standards, one for Construction (29CFR1926.1153) and one for General Industry and Maritime (29CFR 1910.1053)

OSHA estimates that the rule will save over 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year, once its effects are fully realized. The Final Rule is projected to provide net benefits of about $7.7 billion, annually.

About 2.3 million workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in their workplaces, including 2 million construction workers who drill, cut, crush, or grind silica-containing materials such as concrete and stone, and 300,000 workers in general industry operations such as brick manufacturing, foundries, and hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Responsible employers have been protecting workers from harmful exposure to respirable crystalline silica for years, using widely-available equipment that controls dust with water or a vacuum system.





Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (50 μg/m3), averaged over an 8‐hour shift.


Implements an Action level of airborne respirable crystalline silica of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air (25 μg/m3), averaged over an 8‐hour shift.


Requires employers to control silica dust through engineering controls (water to keep the dust from getting in the air and using ventilation to remove what little dust remain).


Requires employers to provide respiratory protection when the PEL is going to be over 50 ug/m3, and to keep employees from areas where the exposure might be higher than the PEL.


Requires employers to provide medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers and gives

them information about their lung health.




·         Air Sampling OSHA REGULATED

·         Bulk Materials

·         Settled Dust

·         Surface Wipes/ Microvac Cassettes

·         Water