MSHA provides update on crystalline silica rule

By |  August 11, 2023
Photo: P&Q Staff

The industry now has until Sept. 11 to submit comments to the Mine Safety & Health Administration related to the agency’s proposed rule on respirable crystalline silica. Photo: P&Q Staff

The Mine Safety & Health Administration extended the public comment period on proposed amendments to existing federal standards related to workplace exposure of respirable crystalline silica.

The comment period deadline was extended from Aug. 28 to Sept. 11. The agency granted the extension following requests from the mining community and others.

“Several interested parties requested that the Department of Labor provide additional time to prepare and submit comments,” says Chris Williamson, assistant secretary at MSHA. “Upon careful consideration, we have decided to extend the comment period for 15 days and to promptly provide notice of the extension to the mining community.”

MSHA published the notice of its proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register in July. The agency intends to lower the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air for a full shift exposure, calculated as an eight-hour time weighted average. This is the same as the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s current silica standard.

MSHA considered lowering the PEL to 25 micrograms per cubic meter but concluded that not all mines could meet that level. MSHA says it wanted to maintain a single PEL that’s applicable to all mines.

Ogletree Deakins’ Bill Doran and Margo Lopez provide additional details about MSHA’s proposal in their July column published in Pit & Quarry.

Related: MSHA unveils proposed rule for crystalline silica

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Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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