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OSHA’S New Crystalline Silica Standard

What you need to know… 

OSHA’s new standards for silica in the workplace significantly reduce the permissible exposure limits (PEL). It’s estimated that tighter regulations on silica dust in the workplace will save over 600 lives and $8 billion in associated costs.

Crystalline Silica Standard 29 CFR 1926.1153 applies to all exposures of respirable crystalline silica, except where exposure will stay below the OSHA action level of 25 ug/m3; 8-hour time-weighted average. 

Some examples of materials that are commonly involved under this standard include sand, concrete, mortar, block, terrazzo, natural stone, and thinset/grout/stucco/color hardeners. 


Type of Violation

Previous Maximum Penalty

New (Current) Maximum Penalty*


$7,000 per violation

$12,471 per violation

Failure to Abate

$7,000 per day

$12,471 per day

Willful or Repeated

$70,000 per violation

$124,709 per violation

*Fine information supplied from OSHA. 

Enforcement Date: September 23, 2017

Metzger/McGuire firmly believes in a “Safety First” approach to all contracting work and will gladly discuss ways in which you can ensure that your safety program complies with all regulations. Below are listed some minimum suggested guidelines to ensure that your operations comply with the new regulations.

For Concrete Joint Cleanout/Filler Removal or Repair

Dust Collector Requirements
- HEPA Filtered
- 99% or Greater Efficiency
- Cyclonic Pre-Separator or Filter-Cleaning Mechanism
- 25 CFM Minimum for Each Inch of Blade When Using Saws or Grinders

Respirator Masks
For any individual working indoors 4+ hours:
- Half Mask/Dust Mask (Fit Tested) with minimum Assigned Protection Factor (APF) of 10

When Using Armor-Hard Kit, Armor-Hard Extreme Kit, or Any Product Modified with Silica Sand

Respirator Masks
For any individual working indoors 4+ hours:
- Half Mask/Dust Mask (Fit Tested) with minimum Assigned Protection Factor (APF) of 10

For Additional Information and Resources We Recommend Reviewing the Following:





OSHA Guide Designed to Help Small Businesses Comply with Construction Industry's Silica Final Rule