Crystalline silica is an important industrial material found in sand, stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar and other materials in a wide variety of workplaces. Exposure occurs during cutting, sawing, drilling and other kinds of processing of these materials. Silica dust is hazardous when very small (respirable) particles are inhaled. Two new standards to protect employees are being issued by OSHA: one for general industry and maritime, and one for construction.
New Standard: Details
The final rule becomes effective on June 23, 2016. Under the new OSHA standard employers will be required to comply with the following when employees are working with silica or materials containing silica:
- Document employee exposures to respirable crystalline silica which will require air sampling and retention of exposure results for 30 years
- Ensure employees are not exposed to over 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air of silica over an 8 hour period
- Develop engineering controls to reduce silica exposures
- Limit exposure to silica dust
- Develop exposure control plans
- Offer medical exams
- Train employees on how to limit exposure to silica
- and more
Additional information can be found at the links below. Contact ESC for assistance with implementing the requirements of this standard.