Respirable Crystalline Silica Policy

OSHA’s New Silica Policy and Why It Matters To You

If you are involved in new commercial construction or major renovations, OSHA’s new Respirable Crystalline Silica Policy, which went into effect on September 23rd, 2017, affects you.  As a general contractor, it is vital that the subcontractors you engage can demonstrate compliance.

The New Rule Requirements

What are these new standards, and how do they affect you? OSHA’s new regulations on silica in the workplace significantly reduce the amount of exposure allowed to this substance.  Per OSHA, the following are ways to keep exposures at or below the PEL (Permissible Exposure Limit):

  • Engineering controls include wetting down work operations or using local exhaust ventilation (such as vacuums) to keep silica-containing dust out of the air and out of the workers’ lungs.  Another control method that may work well is enclosing an operation (“process isolation”).
  • Examples of work practices to control silica exposures include wetting down dust before sweeping it up or using the water flow rate recommended by the manufacturer for a tool with water controls.
  • Respirators are only allowed when engineering and work practice controls cannot maintain exposures at or below the PEL.


An integral part of any commercial contracting business is making sure all laws and standards are complied with.  Sometimes these regulations and rules can be difficult to navigate. General contractors that engage subcontractors not adhering to the new policy may be fined, in addition to the subcontractor.

Contact Hartwig Plumbing & Heating, Inc.

Hartwig Plumbing & Heating, Inc., is a superior commercial plumbing and HVAC-R contractor that strictly adheres to OSHA’s silica guidelines and has the safety record to back it up.  Call Hartwig Plumbing & Heating at 855-225-8235 or send an email to