How Your Beard Impacts Respiratory Protection

Source: NIOSH

As the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health notes, during November many people participate in campaigns to raise money for various causes by growing out their facial hair. But if your job requires a tight fitting respirator, many different facial hair styles are a no-go.

The graphic above (produced by NIOSH) highlights dozens of facial hair styles and if they would interfere with a proper respirator seal. A respirator needs to seal tightly against the face, or else harmful gases, vapors, or particles can enter the lungs.

According to NIOSH, some studies have shown that even a day or two of stubble can reduce the protection that a respirator provides. Facial hair under the seal can cause causes 20 to 1000 times more leakage compared to clean-shaven individuals.

But this graphic should only be used as a guide. A respiratory fit test needs to be performed to ensure that a respirator fits a worker properly. Our team of experts here at SCT conduct hundreds of fit tests each year to help keep our clients safe on the job.

Respiratory protection has received a renewed focus in workplace safety with the updated silica standard in construction going into effect in September 2017. Check out our video below to learn a bit more about silica protection and what to expect from a respiratory fit test.

Need a respiratory fit test for you or your employees? Call us at 1-800-204-1729 or complete the contact form below.








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A Day in the Life of an SCT Safety Technician

In our continuing look into our Glass and Safety Staffing Division, our new video gives a detailed look at the everyday responsibilities of our Safety and Health Technicians.

Our techs are on job sites 24/7 during glass furnace demolition/rebuild projects or any other workplaces where it’s important to have a safety expert on hand.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to make sure you never miss a new safety video from us.

Silica Enforcement Is Here

October 23, 2017, marks the end of the 30 days of compliance assistance offered to employers taking good faith efforts to follow OSHA’s new construction silica standard. On October 19, Thomas Galassi, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), issued an Interim Enforcement Guidance for the Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction Standard.

“Effective October 23, 2017, OSHA will fully enforce all appropriate provisions of the Silica in Construction standard. This memorandum will serve as interim enforcement guidance while the standard’s companion compliance directive is proceeding through the review process. It will expire when the compliance directive becomes effective and available to the field,” according to the announcement.

The interim guidance was released to all OSHA regional administrators, as well as to the public. It includes detailed outlines related to inspection guidance and citation guidance. From the documents, areas of high priority include:

  • Following Table 1 parameters
  • Exposure Assessment Options, both Performance and Scheduled Monitoring
  • Methods of Compliance
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Housekeeping Practices
  • Written Exposure Control Plan
  • Medical Surveillance
  • Communication of Hazards

SCT offers updated training classes and program assistance to help transition companies into compliance with the new OSHA standard. Check out our specialized Silica webpage here.

We’ve done numerous videos on the new silica standard and what employers need to do to be in compliance. Check out our latest silica video below!

Want more information? Call us today at 1-800-204-1729 to discuss your silica compliance plans.

SCT VP to Present at Glass Problems Conference

Next month, SCT will be in Columbus, OH, for the 78th Conference on Glass Problems. We have attended this great event in the past, but this year we’re taking on a larger role.

SCT Vice President of Glass Technology and Safety Staff Augmentation Dragan Savic will lead numerous presentations during the conference covering the latest in glass manufacturing safety concerns, including silica and hexavalent chromium.

If you’re going to be at the conference from Nov. 6 through 9, be sure to stop by Booth 313 to meet the rest of our team, including Senior Vice President Jim Joyce and Staff Augmentation Specialist Aaron Zaksheske.

Watch our video below to find the rest of the details you need.

Click here to learn more about our Safety Staffing Services. 

OSHA construction silica enforcement is SATURDAY!

Heads up construction companies, OSHA’s silica enforcement starts on Saturday, September 23, 2017!

SCT’s staff of occupational safety and health experts has the training and skills to help your company transition into this new standard.

During his time working for OSHA, Mr. Bielema helped develop the new silica standard. Mr. Bielema’s most recent position with OSHA was as Area Director for the Peoria, IL, office. The new rule went into effect in June 2016, but the enforcement date was delayed to allow for companies to align their programs and policies with the new standard and conduct necessary updated training.

Mr. Bielema has developed a brand new training course for SCT that will bring you and your employees up to speed on the new regulations. Watch our conversation with Mr. Bielema to find out more details about who is impacted by the new rule, what you need to do to become OSHA compliant, and how to best protect your employees.

Need to update your silica training? Call the safety experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729, or contact us through our online contact page!

CDC Report Gives Insight into Young Silicosis Deaths

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that most of the young people who died from silicosis worked in jobs where exposure to silica is common. As silicosis is often a disease that affects older people after years of exposure, the CDC wanted to learn more about the disease in younger people.

Between 1999 and 2015, 55 people aged 15 to 44 had pneumoconiosis (lung disease) “due to other dust containing silica” listed on their death certificates as either the underlying or contributing cause of death. Of those, 38 (69%) were assigned pneumoconiosis due to other dust containing silica. Thirty of the 38 people worked in the manufacturing and construction industries, which have high levels of silica exposure.

Seventeen of the 55 people (31%) had pneumoconiosis due to talc dust, which is a specific type of silica. Only 13 of the 17 deaths had occupation data available, and none of those 13 worked jobs that are associated with talc exposure. They also had drug use or overdose as a contributing cause of death, which suggests their deaths were not related to their occupations, according to the CDC.

The CDC concluded that the study shows more research is needed to discern how to best combat silica exposure in the workplace. The organization still suggests following the hierarchy of controls as the best way to face the issue.

Silica dust exposure has been a long-running occupational health concern with a new OSHA rule going into effect in June 2016. However, the effective date has been delayed and is now scheduled for Sept. 23, 2017. About 2.3 million U.S. workers are exposed to silica dust. Check out our infographic below for more important information about the dangers of respirable crystalline silica.

Is your business prepared for the new silica standard? OSHA’s enforcement date is less than two months away! Contact us today online or call 1-800-204-1729 to make sure your employees don’t get left in the dust.