The health of our workers and the construction community as a whole is the most important thing to The Moran Group. That is why we write our Spotlight on Safety articles, have weekly Toolbox Talks, create intense new employee safety training, and offer continuing learning opportunities regularly. We also will update you when OSHA has new regulations. On September 23, 2017, OSHA is issuing two new standards for worker health and safety for respirable crystalline silica. One will be for general industry and the other will be for construction.
In over 600,000 workplaces, two million construction workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica. Of those two million, 840,000+ workers are exposed to an amount that exceeds permissible exposure levels (PEL). Silica is a colorless mineral compound found in asphalt, brick, cement, concrete, drywall, grout, morter, stone, sand, and tile. Silica is not hazardous unless it has been disturbed. Once inhaled, it will remain in your lungs, creating health hazards such as silicosis, lung cancer, pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.
Exposure comes from a number of sources: masonry saws, grinders, drills, jackhammers, handheld powered chipping tools, operating vehicle mounted drilling rigs, milling, operating crushing machines, or using heavy equipment for demolition.
OSHA is now requiring that employers reduce worker's exposure to respirable crystalline silica and take other steps to protect workers when they are exposed.
According to OSHA, employers are required to:
• Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers, including procedures to restrict access to workers areas where high exposures may occur.
• Designate a competent person to implement the written exposure control plan
• Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica where feasible alternatives are available.
• Offer medical exams - including chest x-rays and lung function tests - every 3 years for workers who are required to wear a respirator 30+ days per year.
• Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and way to limit exposure.
• Keep records of workers' silica exposure and medical exams.
Be aware of your surroundings and keep yourself safe while working with tools that may expose you or your co-workers to respirable crystalline silica.
OSHA has a huge emphasis on Silica due to the exposure in the Construction Industry. A standard was created. OSHA rules with the intent to limit worker exposure. They predict it will save over 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year. Provide net benefits of about $7.7 billion, annually.
OSHA Crystalline Silica Rule in the United States.
1. The policy of FE Moran is to perform work in the safest manner possible. FE Moran will provide the safest possible working conditions for its employee workplace.
2. The purpose of this program is to protect employees from the exposure to silica and the hazards associated with it. This program will also ensure compliance with the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Silica Standard, Title 29, Part 1926.1153 Respirable Crystalline Silica.
3. The standard will be in effect as of September 23, 2017. In order to provide the opportunity to conduct additional outreach, provide educational material and guidance for employers, and to provide additional time to train compliance officers, OSHA has already delayed the compliance date from the Original date of June 23, 2017.
Key Provisions for Crystalline Silica
a. Employers can either utilize a control method laid out in Table 1 of the construction standard, or they can measure workers’ exposure to silica and independently decide which dust control work best to limit exposures to the PEL in their workplace. If not utilizing table 1, employers must:
- Measure the amount of silica that workers are exposed to if it may be at or above an action level of 25µg/m³ (micro grams of silica per cubic meter of air) averaged over an eight hour day.
- Protect workers from respiratory crystalline silica exposures above the permissible exposure limit of 50µg/m³ (micro grams of silica per cubic meter of air), averaged over an eight-hour day.
- Use dust control to protect workers from silica exposures above the PEL.
- Provide respirators to workers when dust controls cannot limit exposures to the PEL.
b. Regardless of which exposure control method is used, all construction employers covered by the standard are required to:
- Establish and implement a written exposure plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers.
- Designate a competent person to implement the written exposure plan.
- Restrict Housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica when feasible alternatives are available.
- Offer medical exams – including chest X-rays and lung functioning tests – Every three years for workers who are required by the standard to wear a respirator for 30 or more days per year.