OSHA's silica standards require employers to limit worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica and take steps to protect workers.

The agency has several new resources to help employers meet the requirements of the standards, which went into effect June 23 of this year:

In addition to those resources, OSHA has released a Small Entity Compliance Guide for General Industry and Maritime to help small business employers comply with its silica standards.

Final Rule

OSHA announced its final rule on respirable silica dust on March 25, 2016. According to the agency, the rule improves worker protection by:

  • Reducing the permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour shift
  • Requiring employers to use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) and work practices to limit worker exposure; provide respiratory protection when controls are not able to limit exposures to the permissible level; limit access to high exposure areas; train workers; and provide medical exams to highly exposed workers
  • Providing greater certainty and ease of compliance to construction employers—including many small employers—by including a table of specified controls they can follow to be in compliance, without having to monitor exposures
  • Staggering compliance dates to ensure employers have sufficient time to meet the requirements, e.g., extra time for the hydraulic fracturing industry to install new engineering controls and for all general industry employers to offer medical surveillance to employees exposed between the PEL and 50 micrograms per cubic meter and the action level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter

The final rule is written as two standards, one for construction and one for general industry and maritime.


Register today for CBIA's New OSHA Silica & Beryllium Standards workshop, Sept. 12, 2018, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the CBIA Conference Center in Hartford. And don't miss the OSHA 10-Hour for General Industry Outreach program, October 16–17, also at the CBIA Conference Center in Hartford.