OSHA Guide Helps Small Employers Comply with Silica Standard for Construction
A new compliance guide published by OSHA is intended to help small business employers comply with its respirable crystalline silica standard for construction. Different sections of the guide correspond to the major provisions of the silica standard for construction. Each section describes the provisions in easy-to-understand language and provides additional details to help employers better understand the standard’s requirements. The guide’s sections include information on specified exposure control methods, alternative exposure control methods, respiratory protection, housekeeping, medical surveillance, and more. Individuals can download a PDF.
OSHA announced its final rule on occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica in March 2016. The final rule set a new permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air calculated as an eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA). The new PEL is approximately 50 percent of the previous PEL for general industry, and about 20 percent of the previous PEL for construction and shipyards. The rule comprises two standards, one for construction and one for general industry and maritime. Both standards took effect on June 23, 2016, and enforcement of the final rule in construction is due to begin on June 23, 2017. Enforcement for general industry and maritime is set to begin a year later on June 23, 2018.
At the time this issue of The Synergist went to press, OSHA projected that a separate compliance guide for general industry and maritime would be available sometime in December. To learn more, visit OSHA’s website.