Silicosis Resources for Employers and Contractors

If It’s Silica… It’s Not Just Dust!

Occupational Exposure Limits

Occupational exposure limits are intended to set the airborne concentrations of substances to which workers can be exposed, on a daily basis, without significant risk of adverse health effects. The OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) is the regulatory enforceable exposure limit. The OSHA PEL is 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift. Visit the OSHA Silica standard website for additional information.

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Construction/Manufacturing Sectors
  • Dry Cutting and Grinding is Risky Business: English [pdf 142kb], español [pdf 139kb]


Respirators should not be the primary method of protection. If engineering controls cannot keep dust levels below the NIOSH REL (0.05 mg/m3), then respirators should be used. Always use NIOSH-approved respirators.

What Type of Respirator Should I Use When Working with Silica?

Note: When respirators are used, the employer must establish a comprehensive respiratory protection program as required by the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard. See also OSHA Respiratory Protection e-Tool.

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development offers a Free On-site Consultation Service for Employers regarding occupational health issues.

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Dental Laboratories
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Silicosis and Mining – New Jersey

For over 30 years, the New Jersey Department of Health’s (NJDOH) Silicosis Surveillance Project has tracked cases of the disabling lung disease silicosis. This following summarizes the results of surveillance activities in the NJ mining industry; including:

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Silicosis Statistics
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Last Reviewed: 9/30/2016