What is Silica? figure out your Permissible Exposure Limit (P.E.L)

The Law Offices of Joseph A. Romano, P.C. on Friday, May 18, 2018.

The Answer My Friend, is in the Permissible Exposure Limit guidelines set forth by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration….or for short, the P.E.L according to OSHA.

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Since it is impossible to completely prevent silica dust from being created during ongoing construction, OSHA has deemed a Permissible Exposure Limit or P.E.L. for employers to abide by.

OSHA has done the math, and it adds up to this:


A Construction Worker’s Permissible Exposure Limit Calculation:

25 micrograms of silicia dust per cubic meter of air x 8 hours= P.E.L.

P.E.L. = 50 μg / m3  of micrograms of silica per cubic meters of air, averaged over an 8-hour day.

OSHA  requires employers to take steps to protect workers.

The standard for general industry and maritime (29 CFR 1910.1053)

See below for a partial list of the Safety Standards and Guidelines

Employers are required to:

  • Determine the amount of silica that workers are, or may later in the same workday be, exposed to;
  • Restrict work when and if the air level quantities for crystalline silica dust exceeds the permissible exposure limit in accordance to standardized ratio of P.E.L. (See formula above)
  • Limit access to areas where the set P.E.L of silica dust is likely to be exceed as the workday progresses;
  • Provide respirators to workers at most risk for silica dust exposure;
  • Implement dust controls and safe tool enhancements to reduce actual amounts of silica dust;
  • Restrict housekeeping practices such as “dry sweeping” known to cause excessive dust where safer alternative measures are available, such as power vacuuming with enclosed containment and ventilation system.
  • Offer medical exams, including chest X-rays and lung function tests every three years to workers exposed at or above the P.E.L for 30 or more days per year;
  • Educate workers on the risks of silica dust inhalation;
  • Train workers on compliance to safety standards and ensure that workers adhere throughout their work shift;
  • Keep records of workers’ silica exposure history;
  • Retain records of workers medical examinations.  


Have you been exposed to silica dust in your workplace? Are you experiencing symptoms commonly associated with silicosis? If you answered yes to both questions, seek medical attention. You may have a Workers’ Compensation Case. Please allow us to assist you. Call us today. Toll Free: 855.965.1515


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Tags: job injuries, social security disability, workers' compensation, 9/11, occupational disease

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