Industrial Minerals Industry

Throughout the mining and processing of minerals, the mined ore undergoes a number of processing activities which are highly mechanized. Both individually and collectively these processes generate a lot of dust exposing workers and your facility to hazards. So, mineral dusts are specifically monitored by OSHA to better control the safety threats. This covers most all mineral dusts including synthetic mineral fibers.

The primary hazards in this industry are dusts with inhalable or combustible hazards including inert/nuisance dust, crystalline silica dusts, and coal dust. Here are the PELs for these dusts:

  • Nuisance (Inert) Dust
    • Respirable Fraction: 5 mg/m³
    • Total: 15 mg/m³
  • Crystalline Silica
    • Quartz (respirable): 10 / (% SiO₂ + 2)
    • Quartz (total dust): 30 / (% SiO₂ + 2)
    • Cristobalite: ½ the value calculated for quartz
    • Tridymite: ½ the value calculated for quartz
    • OSHA Proposed limit for Respirable Crystalline Silica: 50 µg/m³
  • Coal Dust
    • Respirable Fraction (< 5% SiO₂): 2.4 - 10 mg/m³
      • depends on the application


OSHA also regulates several different minerals dusts. Below are the PELs for some of these mineral dusts. 

  • Fibrous Glass: 15 mg/m³
  • Amorphous, including natural diatomaceous earth: 80 mg/m³


To view more regulations and recommendations for this industry, visit the following websites.

OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor

ACGIH - American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists

NIOSH - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

NFPA - National Fire Protection Association

EPA - United States Environmental Protection Agency

CSB - U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board


Please note, this is a list of common applicable regulations, not a comprehensive list of all regulations applicable to this industry and may not reflect the latest publications.