OSHA’s Final Silica Rule-April 2016

Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety

April 2016

IN THIS ISSUE: OSHA’s Final Silica Rule

OSHA has just issued a final rule to decrease the occurrence of disease in workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica. Silica has been shown to cause cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease. There will be two standards, one for construction and one for general industry and maritime. The construction standard will be designated 1926.1153 in the OSHA regulations. general industry and maritime will be 1910.1053. Although the standards are similar, the construction standard also lists job-specific engineering controls, work practices, and personal protective equipment.

The previous permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica was put into effect in 1971 but did not adequately protect workers. The new PEL will be 50 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) with an action level of 25 ug/m3. The standards will include requirements for an exposure assessment, regulated areas, engineering and work practices controls, respiratory protection, housekeeping, medical surveillance, communication of hazards including signage and training, and recordkeeping. This is similar to other standards, such as those for lead and hexavalent chromium, so employers complying with these rules may have an easier time with silica.

Steps to Compliance:
First, employers should identify jobs and processes where workers may be exposed to crystalline silica and the controls that are currently in place to limit that exposure.
Once complete, personal monitoring should be conducted to identify those jobs where exposures exceed the new standard.
Finally, pinpoint if a written compliance program is needed and what parts of the standard will need to be followed.
Compliance with the new silica standards may take considerable time and expense. However, scientific evidence has shown that this change is long overdue and is needed to prevent disease and save lives. Visit www.osha.gov/silica/index.html for more information.

Important Dates to Remember:
Effective Date: June 23, 2016
Compliance Date for Construction: June 23, 2017
Compliance Date for General Industry: June 23, 2018
Compliance Date for Hydraulic Fracturing: June 23, 2018

For more information on this topic and to discuss your company’s safety and industrial hygiene needs call OccuSafe at (214) 662-6005 or visit us at www.occusafeinc.com

OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety, Inc. provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health. OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.

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