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DOL/OSHA RIN: 1218-AB70 Publication ID: Spring 2013 
Title: Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica 
Abstract: Crystalline silica is a significant component of the earth's crust, and many workers in a wide range of industries are exposed to it, usually in the form of respirable quartz or, less frequently, cristobalite. Chronic silicosis is a uniquely occupational disease resulting from exposure of employees over long periods of time (10 years or more). Exposure to high levels of respirable crystalline silica causes acute or accelerated forms of silicosis that are ultimately fatal. The current OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) for general industry is based on a formula proposed by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) in 1968 (PEL=10mg/cubic meter/(% silica + 2), as respirable dust). The current PEL for construction and shipyards (derived from ACGIH's 1970 Threshold Limit Value) is based on particle counting technology, which is considered obsolete. NIOSH and ACGIH recommend 50g/m3 and 25g/m3 exposure limits, respectively, for respirable crystalline silica. Both industry and worker groups have recognized that a comprehensive standard for crystalline silica is needed to provide for exposure monitoring, medical surveillance, and worker training. ASTM International has published recommended standards for addressing the hazards of crystalline silica. The Building Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO has also developed a recommended comprehensive program standard. These standards include provisions for methods of compliance, exposure monitoring, training, and medical surveillance. 
Agency: Department of Labor(DOL)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: State, local, or tribal governments 
CFR Citation: 29 CFR 1910; 29 CFR 1915; 29 CFR 1917; 29 CFR 1918; 29 CFR 1926 
Legal Authority: 29 USC 655(b); 29 USC 657 
Legal Deadline:  None
Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
Completed SBREFA Report  12/19/2003   
Initiated Peer Review of Health Effects and Risk Assessment  05/22/2009   
Completed Peer Review  01/24/2010   
NPRM  07/00/2013   
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: Federal 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses  Federalism: Yes 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Dorothy Dougherty
Director, Directorate of Standards and Guidance
Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Room N-3718, FP Building, 200 Constitution Avenue NW.,
Washington, DC 20210
Phone:202 693-1950
Fax:202 693-1678
Email: dougherty.dorothy@dol.gov

 
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