California silica ETS takes effect December 29

Comes in response to silicosis epidemic among artificial stone fabrication workers

Photo: CDC

California issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) on respirable crystalline silica that goes into effect December 29, 2023. The ETS comes in response to a silicosis epidemic among artificial stone fabrication workers in California and allows Cal/OSHA to quickly shut down an operation if work violates the ETS and endangers employees’ health.

It applies to general industry workers occupationally exposed to silica; it does not apply to construction, agricultural operations, or exposures that result from the processing of sorptive clays.

The ETS includes revisions to protect workers in high-exposure tasks such as grinding, cutting, polishing, and cleanup of artificial stone and natural stone containing more than 10 percent crystalline silica. Information published by Cal/OSHA defines artificial stone as “any reconstituted, artificial, synthetic, composite, engineered, or manufactured stone, porcelain, or quartz typically within a binding material. It contains more than 90 percent crystalline silica.”

The ETS makes changes to California Code of Regulations, Title 8, section 5204. Among the revisions are:

  • Additional employee exposure control precautions,
  • Expansion of the written exposure control plan,
  • Employee communication and training,
  • Respirator protection,
  • Employee exposure monitoring, and
  • Reporting silicosis and cancer cases.

Employers must implement section 5204, including all ETS requirements, in their workplaces if the work their employees perform meets the scope and application of that standard.


McCraren Compliance offers a full range of safety and health training and consulting services. Plus we can help you incorporate well-being into your traditional systems in order to support the Total Worker Health of your workforce.

Call 888-758-4757, email info@mccrarencompliance.com or visit our website www.mccrarencompliance.com

Original article published by J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.