The new silica dust rules will eliminate dusty job sites like this. Photo: Wikimedia
The new silica dust rules will eliminate dusty job sites like this. Photo: Wikimedia

OSHA expects lowering the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air to prevent 600 deaths a year and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year.

Politico calls the agency's Final Rule to Protect Workers from Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica "the regulation that took four decades to formalize."

That may be; but as my boss Bill Palmer points out, the material's inherent danger is hardly news to concrete contractors. As editor of Concrete Construction, he's been following the issue for years.

His blog on how OSHA's requirements will impact the cost of doing business prompted another blog on the agency's attitude toward concrete contractors. Both generated helpful (as well as irate) comments, which is why I'm sharing them.

Earlier I said the rule goes into effect on June 23. If this is the first you've heard of
don't panic. As page 8 of this FAQ explains, you've got a year to comply.