What do concrete, masonry work, stone work, ready-mix operations, countertop work, foundries, blasting, and other operations that produce silica dust have in common? Aside from the silica in their operations, they all have to comply with the revised OSHA Silica standard.
The OSHA Silica Standard has been revised for the construction industry and other general industries that utilize silica. Key changes include:
What should employers do?
When does my company have to comply?
Employers covered by the construction standard have until June 23, 2017, to comply with most requirements. Employers covered by the general industry and maritime standard have until June 23, 2018, to comply with most requirements. Additional time is provided to offer medical exams to some workers, and for hydraulic fracturing employers to install dust controls to meet the new exposure limit.
What assistance is available?
The good news is that employers with 250 or fewer employees are eligible for free consultation services that include government-funded industrial hygiene labs that can conduct silica sampling to determine current exposures. Consultant services and labs can be found on the OSHA Website.
There is information and multiple resources available online and a construction guide is also available.
NIOSH guidance, including engineering controls for specific tools and tasks in Construction, is another resource to learn more about the topic.