The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a new Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard in Construction as part of its National Emphasis Program (NEP) aiming to protect the health and safety of workers in the industry. Workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica are at increased risk of developing serious adverse health effects including silicosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease. The Crystalline Silica rule for the construction industry went into effect on September 23, 2017 and full enforcement, including penalties for non-compliance, began on October 23rd.
OSHA’s Crystalline Silica Rule for Construction includes but is not limited to:
New Building Construction
Interior & Exterior Renovations
Electricians, Plumbers, HVAC and all trades with personnel in the field that may come into contact with trades interrupting thus creating Respirable Silica.
Every company must:
Create and implement exposure and respiratory programs
Provide awareness training for all employees
Provide training for competent persons and ensure their ability to supervise silica producing tasks.
Provide all controls necessary to reduce the exposure to employees and the PPE needed to mitigate that exposure.
Provide medical evaluations to all employees that require the use of a respirator for a time greater than 30 days per year and follow up as required by those evaluations.