OSHA Considering Changes to Silica Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is requesting public feedback on the silica standard in the construction industry.

OSHA is seeking more information about multiple aspects of the rule, including:

  • additional engineering and work practice control methods to effectively limit exposure to silica for tasks in Table 1
  • construction equipment and tasks that generate silica that it should consider adding to Table 1
  • engineering and work practice control methods associated with those tasks
  • whether or not to revise paragraph (a)(3) of the General Industry Silica Standard to increase the ways in which general industry and maritime workplaces could use the construction standard’s Table 1

OSHA stated that expanding the options for companies to comply with the silica standard will give business more flexibility while still maintaining employee safety. The agency also said that submitted information will allow OSHA to “consider new developments and enhanced control methods for equipment that generates exposure to silica” and provide more data on potential silica exposure from more tasks.

Respirable crystalline silica is dangerous to workers and can potentially cause lifelong health issues. It is created when cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling or crushing stone, rock, concrete, brick, block and mortar. Other exposures include abrasive blasting or manufacturing of brick or ceramic products. About 2.3 million people in the U.S. are exposed to silica at work.

Silica can cause numerous diseases including silicosis (an incurable lung disease), lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and kidney disease.

According to OSHA’s news release, public comments must be submitted by October 14, 2019 online at www.regulations.gov, or by fax/mail.

At SCT, our Workplace Safety Experts, who have dozens of years of experience working for and alongside OSHA, can train your employees to properly abate any potential silica hazards in compliance with all OSHA regulations. Call us at 1-800-204-1729 or complete the form below to contact one of our experts.








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OSHA silica standard

OSHA Releases New Silica Standard FAQ

The recent release of the new OSHA silica standard brought forth a slew of questions from construction industry professionals, so OSHA has stepped up and answered with a new silica FAQ. This online silica FAQ includes training videos for the respirable crystalline silica construction standard.

OSHA developed the new FAQs in cooperation with industry and labor organizations, so workers have some additional clarity regarding the OSHA silica standard’s requirements. OSHA also introduced six new videos helping users control silica exposure when engaging in common construction tasks. Viewers can get a quick primer on handheld power saws, drills, grinders and jackhammer use and the related silica exposure.

Check out SCT’s respirable crystalline silica dust page for more information regarding silica safety best practices – or to schedule your silica safety training.

Ask the Experts: Silica

We have another Ask the Experts segment, this time featuring SCT Regional Director Tom Bielema.

During his time working for OSHA, Mr. Bielema helped develop the new silica standard. The new rule went into effect in June 2016, but the enforcement date in construction of Sept. 23, 2017, is quickly approaching. Mr. Bielema’s most recent position with OSHA was as Area Director for the Peoria, IL, office.

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.

Did you catch our first Ask the Experts video featuring SCT Vice President of Engineering Services and former OSHA Regional Director Nick Walters? Click here to watch Mr. Walters detail the new Walking-Working Surfaces Standard.

If you want to talk to Mr. Walters, Mr. Bielema, or any of our other OSHA Experts, contact us today at 1-800-204-1729 or use our online contact page.

Silica enforcement delayed until September

Enforcement of OSHA’s new final rule on crystalline silica has been pushed back until September 23, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced on April 6.

The cause for the enforcement delay is so that additional outreach, educational materials and guidance can be provided to employers. OSHA “determined that additional guidance is necessary due to the unique natures of the requirements in the construction standard,” according to an OSHA press release.

The enforcement date was originally scheduled to begin June 23, 2017.

We’ve talked about the new silica standard before, when it was first announced and when OSHA released its guide for the updated silica standard.

Respirable crystalline silica is a hazardous substance that workers, especially those in the construction industry, face exposure to on a regular basis. Exposure to silica, coupled with lack of safety measures, can lead to lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.

OSHA’s new final rule, which reduced the permissible exposure limit and increased safety requirements, is estimated to save more than 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year, according to OSHA.

SCT has training programs in place to help employers update and refresh their silica safety policies. While enforcement may be delayed, the new final rule went into effect on June 23, 2016.

Protect workers today and call the safety experts at SCT at 1-800-204-1729.