OSHA’s silica rule was put into effect to help limit workers’ exposure to harmful silica dust. Crystalline silica is a mineral that can be found in stone, concrete, brick, and mortar. When these materials are cut or crushed, silica dust is created that can be breathed in by workers. Breathing in this dust can lead to cancer, respiratory, and other diseases.
Limiting Exposure to Silica Dust
Preventing diseases caused by silica dust is done by limiting workers exposure to the dust. Construction tasks at that cause exposure to silica are:
- Using masonry saws, grinders, drills
- Using jackhammers and handheld powered chipping tools
- Operating vehicle mounted drilling rigs
- Operating crushing machines
- Using heavy equipment for demolition
OSHA’s standard for Respirable Crystalline Silica in construction, effective September 23rd, 2017 is aimed at limiting worker’s exposure to silica dust.
OSHA Silica Dust Requirements
The standard for silica dust includes provisions such as:
- The permissible exposure limit (PEL): the PEL for silica dust is 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air on average for an 8-hour shift
- Medical Exams: These exams monitor exposed workers and inform them about their lung health
- Provide Engineering Controls: these controls, such as water or ventilation, limit exposure to silica dust
- Provide Respirators: when worker exposure cannot be limited to the PEL using engineering controls, respirators must be provided
- Develop an exposure control plan
- Train workers: teach employees about silica risks and how to limit exposure
Silica Dust Compliance with Help from TSC
Total Safety Consulting, TSC Training Academy and Safety Supplies Unlimited are a family of companies capable of being your turnkey provider for comprehensive solutions to accomplishing full compliance with the crystalline silica rule.
- Perform an assessment and develop a written exposure control plan – TSC will perform an assessment and develop a contractor specific written Exposure Control Plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers. TSC aims to prevent workplace injuries, reduce costs, and enhance overall business operations.
- Provide required training – OSHA requires Hazard Recognition Training for all exposed workers. TSC Training Academy, the leader in construction safety training, has developed a training program on work operations involving silica exposure and ways to limit exposure that specifically meet the requirements of the rule.
- Provide tools and equipment – SSU can provide tools and equipment that enable flexible alternatives to Exposure Assessments. SSU has a full line of tools compliant with Exposure Control Methods described in OSHA Table 1.
- Perform an exposure assessment and recommend personal protective equipment (PPE) – When engineering and work practice control methods aren’t in place, TSC will assess and limit the exposure of the employee to respirable crystalline silica in accordance with OSHA Table 1 and evaluate which dust controls would work best to limit exposure in the workplace.
- Develop a respiratory protection program – Based on an exposure assessment, TSC will develop a written respiratory protection plan, determine personal protective equipment, facilitate medical evaluations, perform fit testing and provide respiratory protection equipment.
- Provide Resources for your health safety plans – Our team’s expertise in the New York State Department of Labor Workplace Safety will eliminate speculation and enhance safety and health to be practiced with concurrent progressive construction activities. This includes updating plans to current local, state and federal requirements as well as standard safety practices.
- Gain Access to experienced safety and health experts – We work with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), The School Construction Authority (SCA), The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), The Department of Design and Construction (DDC), and the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) along with many construction management teams that know the application of code and various risk reduction plans and alternatives.
At Total Safety Consulting, it is our goal to make your jobsite safer. If you are interested in our silica dust compliance consulting or any of our other site safety services, contact us today!