Silica

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established a revised National Emphasis Program (NEP) to identify and reduce or eliminate worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) in general industry, maritime, and construction.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has posted new frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the agency's standard for respirable crystalline silica in general industry. OSHA developed the FAQs in consultation with industry and union stakeholders to provide guidance to employers and employees on the standard's requirements, such as exposure assessments, regulated areas, methods of compliance and communicating silica hazards to employees.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today issued a memorandum outlining the initial enforcement of the standard for respirable crystalline silica in general industry and maritime. Most provisions of the standard become enforceable on June 23, 2018.

The OSHA regulation outlining requirements for exposure to respirable silica dust has been in place for months. But not every organization has taken the steps necessary to meet the guidelines. This is a reminder that every company that works with concrete, stone or other masonry materials must meet the OSHA requirements.

OSHA has released more than a dozen fact sheets that provide guidance on the respirable crystalline silica standard for construction. One fact sheet is an overview of the silica standard. The other fact sheets provide employers with information on how to fully and properly implement controls, work practices, and if needed, respiratory protection for each of the 18 tasks listed in Table 1 — Specified Exposure Control Methods under the standard.

Reminder: OSHA will begin enforcement on its crystalline silica standard Saturday, Sept. 23. The agency said it plans to offer compliance assistance in the first 30 days to employers who are making a “good faith effort” to comply with the new rule, with a particular emphasis on helping employers use the new Table 1 way of measuring exposure levels.

Construction employers must comply with all of OSHA's silica rule requirements by September 23, 2017. OSHA said it delayed enforcement, which was initially set for June 2017, to “conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employer[s].”With around two million construction workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica in more than 600,000 workplaces, OSHA said over 840,000 of these workers are exposed to silica levels higher than the new permissible exposure limit (PEL).