Example Cost Estimate for Compliance with Crystalline Silica Program Elements being Considered by OSHA


Small plant employs 20 production laborers. Estimate 1/3 (~ 6 employees) have exposures in excess of PEL at 0.1 mg/m3 respirable Crystalline Silica. Estimate another 1/3, or 6 employees exposed above the Action Level of 0.05 mg/m3. If the PEL is lowered to 0.075 or 0.05 mg/m3, the number of people exposed could increase to ½ -⅔ of the labor population. Costs would increase for each production laborer exposed.


Program Element

Unit Cost Basis

Frequency of Expense

Expense for Element

Air Monitoring

$80 per sample for 6 samples + 1 Blank

$80 per sample for 6 samples + 1 Blank

Quarterly for

6 employees

Semi-Annually for

6 employees




Signs for Regulated Areas

Minimum of 2 @ $7 Each

One time


Respiratory Protection – Disposable

Box 20 @ $13.58 (3M 8210 N95)

Every 3 days or ~ 85 boxes per year


Respirator Training and Fit Testing

$20 per employee

Annual for 6 employees exposed Above PEL



$180 per employee ($35 Physical + $65 PFT and $80 Chest X-Ray)

Annual for all 12 employees above Action Level (except X-Ray every 3years)

$2,160 Baseline and every 3rd year

 ~ $1,200 re-occurring annually end of

year 1&2

Disposable Protective Clothing

$3.73 per employee

6/day (~250 days per year)


HAZ-COM Training


Annual for All employees



$60 (3 hours @ $20/hr)






$12,623 Baseline

$11,649 End of

Yr 1&2


¥ Assumes ½ hour annual training for all 20 employees potentially exposed to silica (average pay rate of $10/hr. or $100/year for training time). Estimates 3-hours time for the Trainer including preparation of presentation materials. Trainer time calculated at 3 hours out of 2000 available annually (or 0.15% of available annual time) and annual salary at $40,000 year. (0.15% x $40,000 = $60 or $20/hour). Salary figures arbitrary. Actual figures may be higher or lower depending upon geographic area of the country and other labor considerations.



This example estimates ~ $12,000/year average cost per plant minimum and does not consider capital costs for additions of exhaust systems, HEPA vacuums, change rooms, showers or improved lunch facilities. For those items, annual operating costs will also increase for utilities such as water and electrical consumption.


This example assumes a stable workforce and does not consider additional medical and training costs incurred for turnover.


This example does not include employee labor costs or the costs of replacement labor while employees are obtaining a medical exam or respirator fit test.


This example does not include costs for renting or purchasing industrial hygiene equipment for monitoring or for hiring a consultant for periodic monitoring tasks. Industrial hygiene equipment (pumps and calibrator) can be rented four times per year for approximately $1000 per year. One pump, charger and calibrator can be purchased for $1,000 - $1,500. A kit of five pumps with chargers and a calibrator would cost approximately $5,000. A consultant may charge from $2,000 - $3,000 per full shift survey which includes travel, analytical costs and a fee for consultant’s service.


Periodic monitoring may be done by making instantaneous measurements using a suitable direct reading dust meter such as a TSI Sidepack. That type instrument can be purchased for ~$2300 or rented for ~$80-$120 per day.


This example does not consider volume discounts that may apply for items such as PPE or Analytical Fees.


This example does not consider incidental costs for Shipping and Handling of materials such as PPE, Lab Samples, etc.


Local exhaust ventilation systems can range from approximately $10,000 for a dust collector up to -$500,000 or more for an extensive exhaust system. There may be environmental permitting issues that should be considered.


HEPA Vacuums can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Mobile vacuums/sweepers would be comparable to other mobile equipment ranging from $10,000-$75,000. Fixed central vacuum systems are available at costs in excess of $10,000-$100,000 depending upon plant size.


If non-disposable protective clothing is utilized, uniform costs start at approximately $40 for coveralls or a pant/shirt combination. Each employee would probably need at least two uniforms so one is available while the other is being cleaned. If non-disposable clothing is used, additional costs may be incurred for change room/showers. There would also be additional incidental costs for suitable storage bags and labels for contaminated clothing. A laundry service would cost extra if you don’t purchase laundry equipment.


Disclaimer:     This Cost Estimate has been prepared to illustrate potential compliance costs that may be associated with items being considered for an OSHA standard for Crystalline Silica. Actual costs may be higher or lower than those estimated. Mention of a particular product does not constitute as an endorsement of that product.