OSHA Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard:  CertainTeed Gypsum Board Products 

TechUpdate Release Date: October 18, 2017 
CertainTeed Gypsum publishes Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for our gypsum board products to comply with the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard.  The level of crystalline silica in the bulk gypsum material used in the products is reported in the SDS.   
OSHA’s Crystalline Silica Rule for Construction (29 CFR 1926.1153) which went into effect on September 23, 2017 further controls the exposure to respirable crystalline silica during construction work.   
CertainTeed Gypsum contracted with an independent third-party test laboratory to conduct industrial hygiene tests on the release of respirable crystalline silica during the installation of gypsum board products.  Three methods of cutting the gypsum board were evaluated; 1) score and snap and rasp, 2) hand saw, and 3) rotary saw.  Air samples were collected within the breathing zone of the worker and within the test chamber during each cutting operation on multiple samples of gypsum board.  These tests have shown that none of the air samples collected exceeded the OSHA PEL (Permissible Exposure Limit) during installation.  Respirable crystalline silica was not detected to be present in any of the air samples collected.  The reported detection limit for the air samples was less than or equal to 16 µg/m3 (less than the OSHA PEL of 50 µg/m3 and ACGIH TLV and OSHA action level of 25 µg/m3). 
Note that OSHA has determined that the installation and finishing of gypsum board products are activities that generate low levels of silica exposure and therefore these activities are excluded from “Table 1” of the new OSHA Crystalline Silica Rule.  For activities not listed in Table 1, such as installation and finishing of gypsum board products, OSHA has established alternate control methods to ensure no employee is exposed above the PEL for respirable crystalline silica.  To accomplish this, employers may be required by OSHA to conduct initial and reassessment job-site air monitoring according to an OSHA schedule.    

A separate TechUpdate on this topic for CertainTeed Gypsum joint compounds is available upon request.
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Technical Services recommendations are provided solely for the information of the project designer, architect, engineer or contractor.  It is the responsibility of the project designer, architect, engineer and/or contractor to check local code requirements - prior to installation of any CertainTeed product - to assure  suitability and code compliance of any design or recommendation described above.  CertainTeed is not responsible for applications that do not meet  jurisdictional code requirements.