January 24, 2019

FAQs Help Employers Comply with Silica Standard for General Industry

On Wednesday, OSHA posted answers to new frequently asked questions about its standard for respirable crystalline silica in general industry. The FAQ page, which the agency developed in consultation with industry and union stakeholders, is intended to provide guidance to employers on the requirements of the standard. The FAQs address topics such as the scope of the standard, definitions, exposure assessments, regulated areas, methods of compliance, written exposure control plans, housekeeping, medical surveillance, communication of respirable crystalline silica hazards to employees, recordkeeping, and temporary workers. A PDF version of OSHA’s FAQs is also available.

More resources related to OSHA’s silica standard for general industry are available on the agency’s website.

OSHA’s final rule to protect workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica was published in March 2016 and comprises two standards, one for construction and one for general industry and maritime. The respirable crystalline silica construction standard became enforceable on Sept. 23, 2017. The standard established a new 8-hour time-weighted average permissible exposure limit of 50 µg/m3, an action level of 25 µg/m3, and ancillary requirements. The new PEL is approximately 20 percent of the previous PEL for construction.

OSHA previously published a compliance guide (PDF) intended to help small business employers comply with the respirable crystalline silica standard for construction.