OCCUSAFE CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety
Hazard Communication and the New Silica Rule:
Enforcement of the new Occupational Safety & Health Administration Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction is due to begin on September 23, 2017. The rule took effect on June 23, 2016, but enforcement was originally scheduled for June but was delayed an additional three months.
Under Section (i) of the new silica regulation, employers who are subject to this rule must include respirable crystalline silica in their hazard communication program (HCS). OSHA’s HazCom standard 29 CFR 1910.1200 applies to virtually any employer who uses hazardous chemicals in the workplace. HCS requires employers to provide proper training on the chemical hazards in the workplace, along with right to know access about those hazards. Training must include how to read chemical label elements and how to read the 16 sections of a Safety Data Sheet.
As per the Silica standard, the company must ensure that each employee has access to labels on containers of crystalline silica and safety data sheets, and is trained in accordance with the provisions of HCS and this section of the standard. The employer must ensure that at least the following hazards are addressed: Cancer, lung effects, immune system effects, and kidney effects. The employer must ensure that each employee covered by this section can demonstrate knowledge and understanding of at least the following:
- The health hazards associated with exposure to respirable crystalline silica.
- Specific tasks in the workplace that could result in exposure to respirable crystalline silica.
- Specific measures the employer has implemented to protect employees from exposure to respirable crystalline silica, including engineering controls, work practices, and respirators to be used.
- The contents of this section.
- The identity of the competent person designated by the employer.
- The purpose and a description of the medical surveillance program.
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