Set in Stone | Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard Enforcement

OSHA’s enforcement of the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction is set to begin on September 23, 2017. The rule is intended to limit respirable crystalline silica exposure in workers, which will help prevent lung cancer, silicosis, kidney disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Once the rule is in full effect, it’s estimated it will prevent 600 deaths and 900 cases of silicosis each year.

Millions of workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in the workplace. When silica-containing materials such as concrete and stone are cut, crushed or drilled, workers face exposure. Additionally, workers in hydraulic fracturing / fracking, brick manufacturing, foundries and many other industries may be exposed.

OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica final rule implements some key provisions for Construction that must be complied with:

  • Establish and implement a written exposure control plan.
  • Reduce the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift.
  • Limit worker exposure to the PEL through the use of engineering controls.
  • Monitor highly exposed workers through providing health exams and lung health information.
  • Keep records regarding worker exposure and medical exams.
  • Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and how to limit that exposure.

The final rule on silica dust exposure was issued in 2016. Enforcement for Construction has been delayed from June 2017 to September 2017 so OSHA could provide additional outreach, guidance and educational materials. Compliance with most of the Silica requirements for General Industry and Maritime will be enforced as of June 23, 2018.

To learn more, see our NEW 100% Online Course: Silica Awareness Training for Construction. OSHA also offers detailed information on the Final Rule in Fact Sheet – OSHA’s Crystalline Silica Rule: Construction and in the FAQs on their Final Rule webpage.

Date Posted: 09-01-2017
Tags: osha safety topics, osha safety training, osha silica, osha workplace safety, respirable crystalline silica, silica dust, silica exposure,
Categories: OSHA Safety,