OSHA Silica Rule
Webinar – Silica Exposure and Employee Safety
Discussion of the two new OSHA silica standards and steps for compliance.
Silica Exposure Control Plan for General Industry
Document to help satisfy one of the steps for compliance.
OSHA Silica Rule
OSHA Releases Final Silica Ruling
OSHA released its long-anticipated rule reducing the permissible exposure level (PEL) for crystalline silica for general industry and construction. The rule cuts the respirable silica PEL from 100 µg/m3for an 8-hour time weighted average to 50 µg/m3. The rule was broken into two separate standards—one for the General Industry & Maritime (affecting employees in stone fabrication shops), and one for Construction (affecting employees working at jobsites in the field). OSHA’s Silica Rule went into effect on June 23, 2016.
Since a portion of the stone industry will be covered under the “construction” standard and others under the “general industry” standard, the following documents and links are provided for quick reference:
- OSHA Fact Sheet: Construction Standard
- OSHA Fact Sheet: General Industry Standard
- OSHA Fact Sheet: Final Review Overview
- OSHA Final Rule (complete 1,772 page document)
- OSHA Table 1 (helpful to those using the Construction Standard)
Employers covered by the Construction Standard had until September 23, 2017 to comply with most requirements outlined in the standard. Employers covered by the maritime and General Industry Standard will have until June 23, 2018 (two years from the effective date) to comply.
Companies are encouraged to assess their current silica exposure risks and safety efforts to ensure they are compliant with the new OSHA ruling. In fabrication shops where no monitoring has occurred, it is recommended to conduct breathing zone sampling. Continue to utilize wet cutting and other 'best practices' that limit silica exposure whenever possible.
Click here for more information from OSHA.
Impact on the Stone Industry / Training Resources Available
The impact of this proposal on the natural stone industry (as well as man-made quartz materials, concrete, and others in the construction industry), would be as follows:
- Exposure limit — The exposure limit formula has been cut by 50%.
- Is your company compliant? All stone companies are encouraged to review their current silica exposure measurements to assure they are in compliance with the OSHA ruling. In cases where no monitoring has occurred, it is recommended to conduct up-to-date breathing zone sampling.
- Utilize this time to look at your entire safety training program – there may be no better time to take a few moments to meet with your company’s safety committee. Ask yourself:
- Are your training logs current?
- Do you have ongoing training or “toolbox talk” sessions?
- Does any of your safety equipment need to be replaced or upgraded?
- Preparing for an OSHA visit – with the new OSHA exposure limits enacted, everyone must recognize that the OSHA ruling means more scrutiny for the entire stone industry. Be proactive!
- Remember – there is no cure for silicosis, but with the proper equipment, training, vigilance and continual monitoring, you and your shop can be free of the dangers of the most occupational lung disease in the world: Silicosis.
Natural Stone University
(Over 100 Free Safety Courses)
Downloadable Modules and Documents
Silica Regulation Timeline
General Industry Silica Standard affecting workers in fabrication facilities goes into effect.
Construction Silica Standard affecting workers in the field at jobsites went into effect.
OSHA Releases Final Silica Ruling.
OSHA began public hearning for proposed silica rule change
OSHA issued Notice of a Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica.
The Natural Stone Institute is thankful to the current members of its safety committee: