Have You Started Complying With New OSHA Crystalline Silica Exposure Rule?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A new infographic from Bosch reveals that 1.85 million construction workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica. Of these, more than 640,000 are exposed to silica levels that exceed the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) proposed Permissible Exposure Limit. While many in the industry believe it is nearly impossible to comply with the new OSHA rule, it is important to be aware of the long-term negative health effects related to crystalline silica and the responsibility business owners, managers, and employees have to keep their employees or co-workers protected. Bosch says prolonged exposure to silica dust increases the risks of cancer or illnesses related to the esophagus, lungs, stomach, and blood/blood-forming organs. According to Bosch, wearing respirators and dust masks and ensuring they fit correctly can prevent and/or limit workers' exposure to silica dust. Moreover, OSHA says, "Controlling the exposure to silica in construction can be done through engineering controls, administrative actions, and personal protective equipment (PPE), similar to practices in other industries. Engineering controls include such things as replacing silica with another material (substitution), isolating an exposure source, and using ventilation systems. Administrative actions include limiting workers' exposure time and providing showers. Use of PPE includes wearing proper respiratory protection and protective clothing."

Kimberly Hegeman 9/6/2016

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