Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety
Medical Surveillance Under New Silica Rule
According to OSHA’s new construction standard on Respirable Crystalline Silica, employers must provide medical monitoring of employees who are required to wear a respirator for 30 days or more per year. This monitoring is conducted at no cost to the employees and includes those tasks specified in Table 1 of the standard, Specified Exposure Control Methods. If the employer uses alternative control methods and required personal air monitoring shows exposure levels above the Permissible Exposure Limit of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air for an 8-hour day, medical monitoring will also be required.
Medical Surveillance under the Silica standard requires the following:
- Medical examinations and procedures performed by a physician or licensed health care professional (PLHCP).
- Baseline medical examination within 30 days after initial assignment, unless the employee has received a medical examination that meets the requirements of this section within the last three years.
- Medical and work history, with emphasis on past, present, and anticipated exposure to respirable crystalline silica, dust, and other agents affecting the respiratory system; any history of respiratory system dysfunction, including signs and symptoms of respiratory disease history of tuberculosis; and smoking status and history.
- Physical examination with special emphasis on the respiratory system
- Chest X-ray by a NIOSH-certified B Reader.
- Pulmonary function test administered by a spirometry technician with a current certificate from a NIOSH approved spirometry course.
- Testing for latent tuberculosis infection.
- Written report by the PLHCP.
Periodic examinations are required every three years, or more frequently if recommended by the PLHCP. More specifics of the medical surveillance requirements are found in OSHA 1926.1153(h).
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