OSHA reports that around 2.3 million workers are exposed to crystalline silica on the job. To better protect these workers, OSHA issued new crystalline silica standards for construction and general industry/maritime, effective September 23, 2017.
The new standard is intended to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease in America’s workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica.
According to OSHA, all construction employers covered by the standard are required to:
- Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers, including procedures to restrict access to work areas where high exposures may occur
- Designate a competent person to implement the written exposure control plan
- Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica where feasible alternatives are available
- Offer medical exams-including chest X-rays and lung function tests-every three years for workers who are required by the standard to wear a respirator for 30 or more days per year
- Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure
- Keep records of exposure measurements, objective data, and medical exams
Safety is one of the most important issues in our industry and ensuring our members have the most updated information on changing standards remains a priority. We encourage our members to review the NECA Standards and Safety presentation to ensure complete compliance.
Please be sure to keep up with your safety programs and reach out to your Field Representative with any questions.