Clean Air for Jobsite Safety
On September 23rd, 2017 OSHA will begin enforcing the final ruling intended to limit exposure for Construction and General Industry to respirable Crystalline Silica.
The final ruling has several key provisions:
- Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) by 80% to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air
- Employers will be required to use engineering controls
- Provides medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers
- Provides flexibility to help employers - especially small businesses - protect workers from silica exposure
Employers can use control methods that reduce the exposure below the PEL by following an OSHA-specified exposure control method (Table 1), measuring workers' exposure to silica independently, or using objective data sufficient to accurately characterize employee exposures to respirable crystalline silica (Section (d)(2)(ii).
Regardless of which control methods are used, all construction employers covered by the standard are required to:
- Establish and implement a written exposure plan
- Designate a competent person to implement the plan
- Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica
- Offer medical exams every three years for workers who wear a respirator 30 or more days per year
- Train workers on operations that result in silica exposure
- Keep records of workers' silica exposure and medical exams