OCCUSAFE CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety
IN THIS ISSUE: Restricted Areas in Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard
Although the OSHA construction standard for Respirable Crystalline Silica does not have a specific section on restricted areas, it does have language for the control of exposure. As per 1926.1153(g)(1)(iv), “a description must be provided of procedures that are in place in order to minimize the number of employees exposed.” Under the exposure control plan section, it indicates that work areas where Respirable Crystalline Silica may be present access should be restricted
Signage should also be posted to restrict access. As per 1926.200, Danger signs should be used where an immediate hazard exists and Caution signs used to warn against potential hazards. They should be removed or covered promptly when the hazards no longer exist
There are many construction activities where exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica can have increased risk of harmful effects. These may include Silicosis, Lung Cancer, COPD, and Kidney Disease. This is especially true where the most severe exposures occur as from abrasive blasting wth sand, jack hammering, rock/well drilling, concrete mixing, concrete drilling, brick and concrete block cutting and sawing, tuck pointing, tunneling operations.For these activities access should be restricted. Employees entering these areas should wear disposable or washable work clothes and shower if facilities are available. Vacuum the dust from clothing or change into clean clothing before leaving the area.
Employees should not eat, drink, smoke, or apply cosmetics in areas where Crystalline Silica dust is present. They should wash their hands and face outside of dusty areas before performing any of these activities. Work should be scheduled so only those who are engaged in the task are allowed in the area
Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica over time can have severe and harmful effects. It is important an exposure control plan is in effect and work practices are followed. An important part of that plan is minimizing the employees exposed with restricted work areas.
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