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OSHA’s New Rules for Crystalline Silica Exposure

OSHA standards 29 CFR 1926.1153 for construction started June 23, 2016.

OSHA standard 29CFR 1910.1053 for general industry will begin being enforced June 23, 2018, this includes fracking.

These new standards reduce the permissible exposure limit (PEL) to 50 micrograms per cubic meter- 50 UG/M3– with an action level of 25 UG/M3

Why These Regulations are Important

Crystalline silica is approximately 100 times smaller than the regular sand that we are all familiar with and when a worker breathes it in, it could cause any of the following health issues:

# Silicosis

# Lung cancer

# Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease. (COPD)

# Kidney disease

# Chronic bronchitis

Potential for Exposure

In the construction industry and general industry, the most common exposures are from:

# Drilling and blasting

# Excavation

# Dry Fracking

# Stucco

# Dry concrete drilling, sanding, breaking and cutting

# Concrete mixing, including Redimix

# Excavation

# Asphalt manufacturing

# Sand, gravel and cement packaging

# Counter top manufacturing and installation

# Refactory products (Brick and cement block)

# Glass manufacturing and cutting

# Stone, Marble and grave stone cutting or lettering

# Foundries

OSHA’s Key Requirements

# Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure to silica and methods used to protect workers, including procedures to restrict access to work areas where high exposures may occur, like sweeping up materials rich in silica.

# Designate a competent person to implement the written exposure plan.

# Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica where feasible alternatives are available.

# Offer medical exams including chest x-rays and lung function tests every three years for workers that are required by the standards to wear a respirator for 30 0r more days per year.

# Keep records of exposure measurements,(Crystalline silica monitoring, what I would like to do for you) objective data, and medical exams.

If a sample comes back indicating high levels of silica, OSHA would want the employer to first implement any necessary engineering controls( Tighter transfer points, water, etc.).

If engineering controls do not reduce the silica exposure under an acceptable limit, the workers must wear respirators.

If you need a written exposure control plan, monitoring or help with engineering controls, please contact me at Kalninsjc@yahoo.com.

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