OSHA & Silica Dust Enforcement in 2018

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is increasing their enforcement of Silica Dust regulations in 2018.

The process of cutting and grinding materials that contain crystalline silica particles, there is an extreme health risk to the employee that is exposed. The microscopic dust  particles created when working with these materials, known as silica dust, can cause severe health issues such as lung disease & cancer.

Materials such as sand, concrete, & stone contain silica components, and employees in the construction, fracking, glass, ceramics, & foundry sectors are at risk of exposure. OSHA has implemented safety standards that will take effect in June 2018 to increase the enforcement of silica-related-hazards in the workplace.

OSHA’s new lower permissible exposure level (PEL) has been created in order to regulate levels of silica dust exposure to employees.

What you need to know.

The silica dust regulation reduces the PEL to 50 micrograms of silica per cubic meter (50 µg/m3) of air over an 8-hour time-weighted average. The regulation sets forth an “action level” of 25 µg/m3 over the same time frame.

“Employers across all industries must demonstrate that workers will not be exposed to silica related hazards at or above that level in ‘any foreseeable circumstances’ (Safety BLR, 2018).”

How do I communicate silica hazards?

In order to communicate silica dust related hazards to employees in the workforce, a written hazard communication is key. Implementing a silica dust communication segment in your written HazCom program is a way to ensure proper label compliance.

HCL Labels offers a wide variety of silica dust hazard labels, and will be adding more to our website in the months to come.

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Safety Summit 2018 – OSHA to begin enforcement of silica dust general industry rule. http://www.safety.blr.com. Web. 2/12/18

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