Silica, Crystalline


OSHA's Respirable Crystalline Silica standard for construction requires employers to limit worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica and to take other steps to protect workers.

The standard provides flexible alternatives, which OSHA expects will be especially useful for small employers. Employers can either use the control methods laid out in Table 1 of the construction standard, or they can measure workers' exposure to silica and independently decide which dust controls work best to limit exposures to the PEL in their workplaces.

Regardless of which exposure control method is used, all construction employers covered by the standard are required to:

  • Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers, including procedures to restrict access to work areas where high exposures may occur.
  • Designate a competent person to implement the written exposure control plan.
  • Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica where feasible alternatives are available.
  • Offer medical exams-including chest X-rays and lung function tests-every three years for workers who are required by the standard to wear a respirator for 30 or more days per year.
  • Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure.
  • Keep records of exposure measurements, objective data, and medical exams.

Construction employers must comply with all requirements of the standard by September 23, 2017, except requirements for laboratory evaluation of exposure samples, which begin on June 23, 2018.

Construction Outreach Materials

Concrete Saw

Applying water to a saw blade when cutting materials that contain crystalline silica — such as stone, rock, concrete, brick, and block — substantially reduces the amount of dust created during these operations.

OSHA Small Entity Compliance Guide for Construction. Discusses suggested engineering and work practice controls, exposure assessments, respirator use, medical surveillance, written exposure control plans, and other aspects of compliance.

Sample Training Powerpoint for Construction. Provides a customizable Powerpoint for employers and other instructors to tailor their training on how to comply with OSHA’s respirable crystalline silica standard for construction.

OSHA's Crystalline Silica Rule: Construction. (Español). Provides a summary of the requirements of the respirable crystalline silica standard for construction.

Controlling Silica Dust in Construction Fact Sheets for Table 1 Tasks

Controlling Silica Dust in Construction Videos for Table 1 Tasks

OSHA Standards, Interpretations, and Directives

Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)

OSHA Directives

Standard Interpretations

Frequently Asked Questions

State Standards

There are twenty-eight OSHA-approved State Plans, operating state-wide occupational safety and health programs. State Plans are required to have standards and enforcement programs that are at least as effective as OSHA's and may have different or more stringent requirements.

Resources for the Construction Industry

Contractors adopt innovative concrete drill jig to reduce silica exposures during concrete drilling operations. | Source:  UC Ergonomic Research and Graduate Training Program

Contractors adopt innovative concrete drill jig to reduce silica exposures during concrete drilling operations. Read more.

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