Proposed OSHA Rule Focuses on Exposure to Crystalline Silica

A rule proposed by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) to minimize worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica would save an estimated 700 lives and prevent 1,600 new illnesses per year.

Crystalline silica are very small particles created during work operations involving stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, mortar and industrial sand. Exposure can occur when cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling and crushing these materials. 

Without proper engineering controls, these operations can expose workers to harmful levels of inhalable crystalline silica. This puts workers at risk for silicosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and kidney disease.

Current OSHA standards are 40 years old and do not adequately protect worker health. The proposed rule brings those protections up to modern standards.

OSHA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica appeared in the Federal Register on Sept. 12, 2013. It is available at

For more information about potential inhalation of crystalline silica particles and the risk to your employees, please call Chad Clippard, business liaison, at 573-331-3019.