Respirable Crystalline Silica Safety
Nearly two-and-a-half years after publishing a rule proposal to reduce the permissible exposure limit for silica, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released the final rule on March 24, 2016. The previous rule, released in 1971, only required employers to limit an employee’s exposure to silica within a permissible exposure limit; however, the new rule requires a pro-active approach from employers to ensure that employees are not exposed to silica in excess of the greatly reduced permissible exposure limit, as well as offering medical examinations to employees who are considered “highly exposed.”
This new rule is comprised of two standards, one for Construction and one for General Industry and Maritime. Industries will have one to five years to comply with the requirements of the standards based on the following schedule:
Construction – September 23, 2017, one year after the effective date.
General Industry and Maritime – June 23, 2018, two years after the effective date.
Hydraulic Fracturing – June 23, 2018, two years after the effective date for all provisions except Engineering Controls, which have a compliance date of June 23, 2021.
Are You Ready?
Compliance dates are approaching quickly. Take our brief self-assessment to verify your readiness.
What You Need To Know
The New Rule:
OSHA’s new rule reduces the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) to 50 ug/m³ (micrograms per cubic meter) and sets an actionable level of 25 ug/m³. Additionally, OSHA has increased the regulation from a half-page to a 30 page, extensive document.
Along with the new regulation comes increased fees for citations. What was once a $7,000 maximum for serious citations has become a $12, 675 maximum, with rates adjusting for inflation every year.
OSHA area offices are prepared for implementation and will be seeking companies to fine with a standard packet of four citations: Silica Control, Written Silica Plan, Medical Surveillance, and Training.
These four citations total penalties up to $50,700 and constitute eligibility for a press release shaming the company.
Employers are Required To:
- Develop a written exposure control plan
- Train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures
- Use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) to limit worker exposure to the PEL
- Provide respirators when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure
- Limite worker access to high exposure areas
- Offer medical exams to highly exposed workers
Full Webinar on Silica
Join our President, Steve Yates, and Director of Operations, Drew Page, as they break down the specifications of OSHA’s Final Rule on Silica. This one-hour webinar includes:
- An introduction to the standard
- Discussion of Exposure Control Methods
- Necessary medical examinations
- Steps for compliance
Ready to Watch Webinar?
Need Assistance With Silica Safety?
We’re Here to Help You Plan for Silica Exposures
Our Experienced Safety Professionals Will:
- Visit your facility for a Walk Around Inspection
- Help you develop a Strategy for Compliance
- Develop an Air Monitoring Plan
- Help you identify New Engineering Controls to limit exposures
- Determine necessary Exposure Control Plans
Let us guide you through this difficult process. Contact us today to start preparing for the new Silica Standard!