OSHA Silica Rule Change Update

March 24, 2016OSHA Releases Final Silica Ruling

OSHA released its long-anticipated rule reducing the permissible exposure level (PEL) for crystalline silica for general industry and construction.  The rule cuts the respirable silica PEL from 100 µg/m3 for an 8-hour time weighted average to 50 µg/m3. The rule was broken into two separate standards—one for the general and maritime (including the stone industry), and one for the construction industry. OSHA’s Silica Rule will go into effect on June 23, 2016.

Since a portion of the stone industry will be covered under the “construction” standard and others under the “general industry” standard, the following documents and links are provided for quick reference:

Employers covered by the construction standard will have until June 23, 2017 (one year from the effective date) to comply with most requirements outlined in the standard. Employers covered by the maritime and general industry standard will have until June 23, 2018 (two years from the effective date) to comply. 

MIA+BSI will continue working with the construction industry to perform legislative outreach for this issue. We urge all companies to contact their legislative representatives immediately.

Companies are encouraged to review their current silica exposure measurements to assure they are compliant now that OSHA ruling is in effect. In cases where no monitoring has occurred, it is recommended to conduct breathing zone sampling. Continue to utilize wet cutting and other 'best practices' that limit silica exposure whenever possible.

Click here for more information from OSHA.


May 15, 2015U.S. Legislative Call for Action – Contact your Legislators about OSHA and Silica
We urge all members to write to their two U.S. Senators and designated House of Representatives member about this matter. Download forms/Read full article, click here.

March 26, 2015 — New study finds that OSHA underestimated cost of silica rule by $4.5 billion a year. Read more.

February 19, 2015 — Industry Update:

  • The Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) has published a 2-page infographic on "How OSHA's Silica Proposal Impacts Construction." See box to the right.
  • OSHA is currently in the process of analyzing the substantial comments it received (nearly 10,000 pages) on its proposed silica rule, which the agency has scheduled to take place through at least the middle of this year. In a recent meeting, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Jordan Barab, reiterated that issuing a final silica rule by the end of the current administration was a top priority.
  • OSHA and the National Safety and Health Administration (NIOSH) issued a Hazard Alert about "Worker Exposure to Silica during Countertop Manufacturing, Finishing and Installation." The report stresses that silica exposure "can be mitigated with simple and effective dust controls in most countertop operations." See report.

March 18, 2014 — OSHA began holding public hearings for the notice of proposed rulemaking on occupational exposure to crystalline silica. The stone industry supported CISC was an active participant.

November 1, 2013 — The MIA, as well as the Natural Stone Council (NSC) and others, joined the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) and is supporting their efforts both financially and with human capital. The coalition consists of over 15 construction industry associations all of whom oppose OSHA's recommended decrease of silica exposure limits.

August 23, 2013 — The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued Notice of a Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. The exposure limit formula has been cut by one-half.

OSHA Information about Silica Rulemaking Information/Press/Statements:

Impact on the Stone Industry / Training Resources Available

The impact of this proposal on the natural stone industry (as well as man-made quartz materials, concrete, and others in the construction industry), would be as follows:

  1. Exposure limit — The exposure limit formula has been cut by 50%.  To understand, watch the video and/or download the “Silicosis: An Industry Guide to Prevention” guide.

    Silicosis video showcases your role in preventing this incurable but preventable disease
    Spanish version / French version

    Download Guide

NOTE:  Page 8 refers to the OLD standard formula. This will be updated soon.

  1. Will you be compliant? All stone companies are encouraged to review their current silica exposure measurements to assure they will be compliant if the OSHA ruling goes into effect. In cases where no monitoring has occurred, it is recommended to conduct breathing zone sampling.
  2. Utilize this time to look at your entire safety training program – there may be no better time to take a few moments to meet with your company’s safety committee.  Ask yourself:

    Specific to silica training, we are providing two turn-key “toolbox talks” that you can incorporate into your current training schedule.  Both contain a review of a recent OSHA complaint where proper guidelines where not followed.

    MIA Outline #12
    MIA Outline #24

    NOTE: The MIA issues monthly safety training outlines on a variety of subjects relevant to the stone industry. This effort is lead by an industry committee – learn more:

    • Are your training logs current? 
    • Do you have ongoing training or “toolbox talk” sessions?
    • Does any of your safety equipment need to be replaced or upgraded?
  3. Preparing for an OSHA visit – with the new OSHA exposure limits enacted, everyone must recognize that the OSHA ruling means more scrutiny for the entire stone industry.  Be proactive! This video is a good guide to help you prepare for a scheduled or unannounced OSHA visit.

    Learn more about OSHA Compliance - Spanish version

    Remember – there is no cure for silicosis.  But with the proper equipment, training, vigilance and continual monitoring, you and your shop can be free of the dangers of the most occupational lung disease in the world: Silicosis.

How OSHA's Silica Proposal Impacts Construction

This document highlights the CISC written comments on OSHA's proposal in a quick and clear manner. Stone industry professionals are encouraged to download the information and share it with their industry colleagues and members of Congress.

Natural Stone Council


Interested in getting involved with the NSC Environmental Compliance Committee – learn more.


MIA+BSI Safety Committee
In 2012 theSafety Program received a Silver Award from the America Society of Association Executives for extraordinary contributions and efforts to enrich lives, create a more competitive workplace, drive innovation, and make a better world. 


Update your Safety Training Library – Bookstore
Update your safety training reference library – learn more.

MIA+BSI is thankful to the current members of its safety committee:



Countertop IQ Stones of North America