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Dust is the Enemy

OSHA mandated an 80% reduction in jobsite exposure limits for silica dust in September 2017. These tougher standards are designed to keep workers safe and requires dust containment practices on jobsites.

Key Silica Dust Exposure Provisions per OSHA

  • Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift.
  • Requires employers to use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) 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; offer medical exams to highly exposed workers; and train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures.
  • Medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers and gives them information about their lung health.
  • Provides flexibility to help employers—especially small businesses—protect workers from silica.
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OSHA Information and Assistance

Additional information on OSHA’s silica rule can be found at www.osha.gov/silica.

OSHA can provide extensive help through a variety of programs, including technical assistance about effective safety and health programs, workplace consultations, and training and education.

OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential occupational safety and health services to small and medium-sized businesses in all states and several territories across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites.

On-site consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing and improving safety and health management systems.

To locate the OSHA On-site Consultation Program nearest you, call (800) 321-OSHA (6742) or visit www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness.

For more information on this and other health-related issues impacting workers, contact your nearest OSHA office, visit www.osha.gov, or call OSHA at (800) 321-OSHA (6742).

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OSHA Resources