Frequently Asked Questions

Read through the questions below for more information about the reduced OSHA silica dust standard and working with James Hardie fiber cement products.



Why does James Hardie have silica in its products?

Silica is in many everyday building materials: tile, concrete, granite countertops, drywall compound, masonry bricks, pavers, etc. It is a very durable material and contributes to the stability of fiber cement.

Are James Hardie fiber cement products safe to put on homes?

Yes. There is no dust concern from fiber cement once it's installed on the home.

Contractors and Installers


Do crews have to wear a hazmat suit to install James Hardie? Do they need to tent the house or cutting station?

No, crews do not need to make any changes to what they wear or tent any areas of the work site. These are misconceptions that may be perpetuated by companies looking to take advantage of this standard change. 

Do I need different tools?

The answer will depend on multiple factors driven by the jobsite environment, as well as how you currently cut our fiber cement products. The tools that are used to safely cut our siding – HardieBlade® saw blades, dust-collecting saws and standard shop vacuums – can be used to help meet the new standard.

If I do need different tools, will the cost be significant?

There are many cost-effective options for tools (saws, vacuums, etc.) that meet Table 1 requirements for fiber cement. Even if you do invest in higher-end tools, the total cost per job is low. Using a cost per square foot metric, it’s less than a penny per square foot – 0.54¢ on the high end and 0.06¢ on the low end. Plus, you could potentially cut costs by using a vacuum to extend the life of your tools and reduce cleanup/housekeeping time. 

James Hardie has collaborated with a number of installers to identify solutions that are effective, affordable and easy to set up. Should you have any questions, we’re prepared to assist crews on-site.

What exactly does OSHA measure?

OSHA will measure the level of exposure to respirable silica dust over an 8-hour period to determine if a jobsite is at or below the PEL of 50 μg/m³.  

Silica exposure is determined one of two ways:
  1. By referencing objective data, which means studies or reports by recognized experts who have evaluated dust exposures for certain tasks*
  2. By directly monitoring actual employee exposure
Actual exposure is measured using an air sampling device that is placed in the work area or worn by an employee. An industrial hygienist (IH)** will generally oversee the sample collection. The samples are collected and sent to a qualified lab for analysis and the IH will review the results and make recommendations.

Note: Only a small fraction (typically less than 5%) of the total dust produced when cutting fiber cement is considered to be respirable silica dust. 


How are fiber cement products safe if silica dust is released when cutting them? Is there any danger to install crews?

Cutting our fiber cement products is safe when using our guidelines, which are designed to reduce the amount of dust produced. There are a number of variables that influence how much dust a worker is exposed to on a construction site. We are here to make it as easy as possible to enable install crews to cut our fiber cement products properly and safely.

How do I become OSHA compliant so I don’t get cited for a violation on the jobsite?

James Hardie has resources and solutions to help its customers achieve compliance. You can find information about the proper way to cut our fiber cement products here or by calling James Hardie Technical Services at 800-942-7343.

Who will train my crew on the new practice?

James Hardie can provide resources to help train your crews. Just call James Hardie Technical Services at 800-942-7343 to schedule a consultation with our technical services team. 



Is this change going to affect my ability to get your product?

No. Our fiber cement products are still the same safe, dependable and widely available siding that you’ve been using for years.

Will I have to incur additional costs when I choose James Hardie siding for my homes?

It depends on how your install crews are currently cutting our fiber cement products. We have a number of existing solutions designed to help ensure that you can comply with the new standard in the most cost-efficient way.

How do you now compare to other siding options? Do they have this same issue?

Every type of siding, regardless of whether it’s wood, wood composite siding, brick, stone or fiber cement, produces dust when it’s cut and is subject to a standard. James Hardie leads all siding manufacturers in providing resources in the field that help enable our customers to comply with the standard.

Dealers & Distributors


Is it safe for me to be moving James Hardie product around?

Yes. Moving or storing fiber cement does not generate significant dust from the product.

What if my customers have questions?

You can direct your customers to the James Hardie Silica Resource Center or ask them to talk to their James Hardie rep.

Does this change make it harder or take longer to get your product delivered to my location?

No, it will not. There is no change necessary and you should not see any issues with the availability of James Hardie products.

Does this change require me to change anything in how I handle/stock your product?

No. There’s nothing in the handling/stocking process that would cause an issue.



Is this change going to affect my ability to spec in James Hardie product?

No. Our fiber cement products are still the same safe, dependable and widely available siding that you’ve been recommending for years.

Are you changing anything about how James Hardie fiber cement products are manufactured that could affect their aesthetic?

No, there’s no need. This is a regulation affecting installation practices, not products.

Find more Resources

Explore our collection of helpful tools and downloadable materials on the OSHA silica dust standard.

See Resources


Don’t hesitate to contact James Hardie. Complete this form or call James Hardie Technical Services at 800-942-7343.

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