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Silica Dust Control
Silica Dust Control

OSHA is amending its existing standards for occupational exposure to respirable silica dust. OSHA has determined that employees exposed to respirable crystalline silica at the previous Permissible Exposure Limits face a significant risk of material impairment to their health. The evidence in the record for this rulemaking indicates that workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica are at increased risk of developing silicosis and other non-malignant respiratory diseases, lung cancer, and kidney disease. This final rule establishes a new permissible exposure limit and Specific Exposure Control Methods.


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

Requires employers to: use engineering controls (such as ventilatio or water) to limit worker exposure to the PEL; provide respirators when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure; limit worker access to high exposure areas; develop a written exposure control plan and train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures.

Provides flexibility to protect workers from silica dust exposure and provides medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers.

Employers can apply 1 of 3 options for compliance: Option 1 Specified Exposure Control method provided in Table 1 of the standard or Alternate Exposure Control methods options 2 and 3 which both require workers' exposure to silica to be below the Permissible Exposure Limit.

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