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OSHA Delays Enforcement of Silica Standard

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Enforcement of OSHA’s updated silica standard is being delayed from June 23 to September 23rd to allow extra time for the organization “to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers” according to OSHA’s April 6th press release.

Roughly 2 million construction workers are exposed to respirable silica in the workplace. The standard is being updated in an effort to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America’s workers by further limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica. OSHA estimates that the rule will save over 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year providing net benefits of about $7.7 billion annually.

The updated rule is comprised of two standards, one for Construction and one for General Industry and includes the following key provisions:

  • Reduces the permissible exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift.
  • Requires employers to: limit high exposure; use engineering controls (water or ventilation) to limit worker exposure to the PEL and provide respirators when engineering controls can’t limit exposure.
  • Develop a written exposure control plan.
  • Provide medical exams to highly exposed workers.
  • Train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures.

For more information on the new rule or training, feel free to contact The Integrated Group at 425.822.8500 or info@theintegratedgroup.com.

 

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