Crystalline Silica Dust: Comply with OSHA, Minimize Risks, Maximize Profits

Crystalline silica dust testing can protect your workforce, reputation, and future. Learn how proactive testing can prevent costly disruptions and legal issues.

If your operations involve dust-generating stone materials, OSHA's crystalline silica standard demands comprehensive testing and mitigation strategies. Non-compliance carries steep financial penalties and reputational risks.


Why is crystalline silica testing important?

Crystalline silica testing helps companies determine and implement compliance with OSHA regulations designed to protect employee health. Crystalline silica is a natural material that is abundant in stone, soil and sand, is found in concrete, brick, mortar, and other construction materials.

Silica dust can accumulate in the lungs and cause silicosis, an irreversible and progressive disease of the respiratory system. Crystalline silica is also associated with increased risk of lung cancer by the U.S. National Cancer Institute.


Assessing worker exposure to comply with OSHA regulations

Testing for silica allows for the assessment of risks to workers and comparison with exposure limits as required under OSHA standard 1926.1153. The OSHA rule sets the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for crystalline silica at 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (μg/m3), averaged over an eight-hour shift.

Non-compliance could lead to penalties including potential federal court enforcement. Silica testing is therefore necessary to determine what steps a company may need to take to comply with the OSHA standard.


Exposure limit requirements of OSHA’s respirable crystalline silica standard*



Employees are not exposed to respirable crystalline silica at or over 25 µg/m3** No further compliance action required
Employees may be exposed to respirable crystalline silica at or over 25 µg/m3** Company must implement either OSHA’s specified exposure control methods or alternative exposure control methods
Company implements OSHA’s specified exposure control methods No further assessment of employees’ silica exposure levels required
Company implements alternative exposure control methods Company must determine employee exposure level and maintain permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 μg/m3**

* This table covers requirements regarding exposure limits. Additional requirements are detailed in the OSHA standard, including respiratory protection, record keeping, etc.
** as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA)


ALS is your trusted partner for silica testing

As a trusted leader with 40+ years of experience, ALS offers comprehensive, AIHA-LAP accredited testing to safeguard your workers and your business. We leverage the latest X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) technology for accurate, NMAM 7500-compliant analysis, ensuring peace of mind and regulatory adherence.

  • On-time data delivery and rapid turnaround time
  • Experienced and courteous staff with technical expertise to answer your most challenging questions
  • Available after-hours and weekends
  • Method-specific media, pumps and filtration devices (cyclones) available for rent
  • A rigorous QA/QC program offering robust quality and process control


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