New Construction Silica Standard-February 2017

Important Ideas in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety in Construction

February 2017

IN THIS ISSUE: New Construction Silica Standard

If you are a construction company whose employees work with concrete, cement, or sand, you must comply with OSHA’s new respirable crystalline silica standard by June 23, 2017. The purpose is to decrease the occurrence of disease in workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica. Silica has been shown to cause cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.

Steps to Compliance:

  • Employers should identify jobs and processes where workers may be exposed to crystalline silica and the controls that are currently in place to limit that exposure.
  • Once complete, personal monitoring should be conducted to identify those jobs where exposures exceed the new standard.
  • Finally, pinpoint if a written compliance program is needed and what parts of the standard will need to be followed.

The previous permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica was put into effect in 1971 but did not adequately protect workers. The new PEL will be 50 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) with an action level of 25 ug/m3. The standards will include requirements for an exposure assessment, regulated areas, engineering controls and work practices, respiratory protection, housekeeping, medical surveillance, and communication of hazards (including signage and training), and recordkeeping.

OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety can conduct required air monitoring and help you be compliant with all aspects of the new standard. Contact us at or through our website at

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