Permissible Exposure Limit
OSHA has reduced the respirable crystalline silica PEL to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (µg/m3), averaged over an 8-hour shift. Employers must take action to protect their workers if this limit is reached, however, exposure levels must still be monitored if they are at or above an action level of 25 μg/m3.
OSHA Compliance Schedule:
• Construction – September 23, 2017
• General Industry and Maritime – June 23, 2018
• Hydraulic Fracturing – June 23, 2018 (for all provisions except Engineering Controls, which have a compliance date of June 23, 2021)
New Silica Standard can be met once employers comply with the following six key provisions:
1. Establish and Implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers, such as:
— Limiting worker access to high exposure areas
— Using dust control methods, such as water or ventilation, to limit worker exposure
— Providing respirators when dust control methods cannot adequately limit exposure
2. Designate a competent person to implement the written exposure control plan
3. Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers where feasible alternatives are available
4. Train workers on the work operations that result in silica exposures, and the ways to limit them
5. Offer medical exams—including chest X-rays and lung function tests—to monitor exposed workers and to inform them about their lung health
— Required for workers who are exposed at or above the action level,
who must wear a respirator for 30 or more days per year
— Re-examine every three years
6. Keep records of workers’ silica exposure and their medical exams
3M offers respiratory protection for every level of silica exposure
Put Your Health first; No matter the industry, job or level of exposure, when it comes to respirable crystalline silica, effective and high-quality PPE is necessary to protect all workers right where they’re at. Assess your work site based on Maximum Use Concentration (MUC) or Assigned Protection Factor (APF) and determine the right gear for you.
If you’re in one of the many industries that could potentially expose workers to silica, you’re required to be proactive and assess your work environment. Learn more about what that means for your business.
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Have questions or want more information regarding OSHA’s new Silica Standard and what it looks like for your business? Contact Gary Porter – Safety and Warehouse Equipment Group Director at IBT Industrial Solutions, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (913) 261-2143.