MSHA Proposes Silica Standard

On July 13, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) issued a proposal to update its existing standards to better protect miners against occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica, and to improve respiratory protection for all airborne hazards. MSHA’s proposal would cut the current permissible exposure limit (PEL) of respirable crystalline silica by half to 50 micrograms per cubic meter (mg/m3). The proposal would also include other requirements, such as exposure sampling, corrective actions to be taken when miner exposure exceeds the permissible exposure limit, and medical surveillance. Additionally, the proposal would replace existing requirements for respiratory protection.

The comment period is currently set to close on August 28; however, AGC plans to submit a request to extend the comment period by 60 days. Ahead of the comment deadline, the agency will hold three stakeholder meetings to provide industry, labor, and other interested parties an opportunity to present oral statements, written comments, and other information on the proposed rule. The meetings will be held on August 3 in Arlington, VA, August 10 in Beckley, WV, and August 21 in Denver, CO. Interested parties can register here.

For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon at or (703) 837-5410.

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