OSHA’s New Silica Rule for Construction

constructionThere is a new OSHA standard to protect workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica. Crystalline silica is a basic component of soil, sand, granite, and other minerals and it can become respirable size particles when workers chip, cut and drill objects that contain crystalline silica. About two million construction workers are exposed to this form of silica in over 600,000 workplaces. Exposure to silica can cause silicosis, lung cancer, other respiratory diseases and kidney disease.

The new OSHA standard requires employers to limit workers’ exposure to respirable crystalline silica and to take other steps to protect workers including:

  • Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers.
  • Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica where other alternatives are available.
  • Offer medical exams every three years, including X-rays and lung function tests.
  • Train workers on the operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure.
  • Keep records of employees’ silica exposure and medical exams.

Construction employers must comply with all requirements of the standard by June 23, 2017. Additional information regarding OSHA’s silica rules can be found here. The enforcements of this new policy will be crucial in the effort to limit exposure to silica. To learn more about protecting your construction team, visit AssuredPartners NL Construction.


Source: OSHA

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