Silica Enforcement: OSHA Rules Arrive for General Industry, Maritime

As of June 23, 2018, OSHA’s silica enforcement has arrived for general industry and maritime workplaces.

The new standard creates an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) permissible exposure limit of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, as well as an action level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Other rules include keeping silica-related records and offering medical surveillance to employees.

In the first 30 days of enforcement, OSHA will help employees that are “making good faith efforts” to comply with the new silica standard. Any silica citations issued during this 30-day period will be reviewed by the National Office before the citations are issued.

For more insight into how OSHA will enforce the silica standard during this interim period, read the administration’s silica enforcement guidance memo that was sent to all OSHA Regional Administrators.

The updated silica final rule was originally published back on March 25, 2016, creating two new standards: one for construction and one for general industry/maritime. Most of the construction standard became enforceable on September 23, 2017.

Dangers of Silica

Silica is a common mineral found on Earth, but when it becomes small enough to enter our lungs, it becomes a major health risk for humans.

Many common work activities — including cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling and crushing stone, rock concrete, brick and mortar — create respirable crystalline silica, which are particles that are at least 100 times smaller than ordinary sand. About 2.3 million workers are exposed to silica dust in the U.S. 

Workers who inhale silica are at an increased risk of potentially fatal diseases such as:

  • Silicosis, an incurable lung disease that can lead to disability and death
  • Lung cancer
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Kidney disease

SCT is your Silica Solution

The workplace safety experts at SCT can solve all of your silica hazards and help you reach OSHA compliance. We offer both a 2-hour awareness and 8-hour competent person training course. SCT is your One Stop Shop for all things silica. We can train your employees, create a customized written safety plan, deliver high-quality personal protective equipment, and everything in between.

Call us today at 1-800-204-1729 or complete the contact form below.