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New Cal/OSHA Occupational Silica Exposure Regulation

New Cal/OSHA Occupational Silica Exposure Regulation

California has recently adopted an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to address the rising instances of occupational silicosis among employees in the engineered stone fabricating industry.

The ETS applies to all California workers occupationally exposed to respirable crystalline silica RCS. Construction work covered under section 1532.3, agricultural operations covered under section 3436; and exposures that result from the processing of sorptive clay, are the exempt areas.


  • In February 2023, a petition was filed urging the Standards Board to adopt emergency rules to better control the airborne silica dust hazard in engineered stone fabrication shops.
  • In May 2023, Cal/OSHA recommended the Standards Board to grant the petition and undertake emergency rulemaking.
  • The proposed amendments included expanding the scope and application of section 5204 to high-exposure trigger tasks, regardless of employee exposures or objective data.
  • After stakeholder input, the Standards Board approved the changes, leading to the adoption of the emergency regulation.



  • The ETS amends the existing California Code of Regulations Title 8, Section 5204.
  • The ETS will be in effect for one year starting on December 29, 2023.
  • Cal/OSHA will likely make the changes permanent before the ETS expires.



  • Implement methods of effectively suppressing dust using wet methods.
  • Implement exposure monitoring and continue monitoring at least every 12 months to assess exposure controls.
  • Post warning signs in regulated areas, in both English and Spanish using specific wording.
  • Put in place certain protections to prevent airborne exposure during housekeeping and maintenance work.
  • Prohibit workers from walking/moving equipment through dust.
  • Maintain a written exposure control plan with certain requirements.
  • Increase employee communication and training.
  • Ensure workers have and use appropriate PPE.

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