Tips and Help for the New US OSHA Silica Regulation

OSHA Silica: Know the drill.

OSHA's silica construction standard is already in effect. Is your crew protected? 

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Reducing Exposures to Crystalline Silica

It’s estimated that more than 2.3 million workers in the United States are potentially exposed to dust containing crystalline silica — with nearly 90% of those workers employed in the construction industry. According to OSHA, in 2014 more workers died from silicosis than from being caught in or crushed by collapsing materials, such as in trench and structure collapses.* 

* OSHA Frequently Asked Questions: Respirable Crystalline Silica Rule


What is the new US OSHA construction silica regulation?


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  • Beyond the cutting and crushing: Helpful tips for the new US OSHA Construction Silica Regulation

    Federal US OSHA has published several support documents that should be reviewed along with the complete regulation. Below are a few highlights that apply to construction applications.

    New Reduced Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL): Lowered by 80% from what it used to be. OSHA has identified three methods to conduct an exposure assessment:
     

    1. Table 1: Identifies common construction tasks and specifies appropriate and effective engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection for each task.
    2. Performance Monitoring: Assess the 8-hour Time Weighted Average (TWA) exposure based on air monitoring data and other objective data.
    3. Schedule Monitoring: Initial monitoring is used to assess the 8-hour TWA exposure based on a personal breathing zone (PBZ) air samples.

    Written Exposure Control Plan: Describes methods used to control workplace exposures, such as engineering controls, work practices, and housekeeping measures. The requirements for the written exposure control plan include:
     

    1. Description of the silica tasks
    2. Engineering controls
    3. Housekeeping measures
    4. Methods to restrict access to work areas
    5. Annual review of the plan for effectiveness and updates
    6. Designated competent person to make frequent and regular inspections of job sites, materials, and equipment to ensure the implementation of the written exposure control plan

    Medical Surveillance: The employer is required to make medical surveillance available at no cost and at a reasonable time and place for each worker required to wear respirators due to silica exposure. Required procedures:
     

    1. Initial (baseline) examinations
    2. Periodic examinations
    3. Information provided to the physician or other licensed health care professional (PLHCP)
    4. PLHCP’s written medical report for the employee
    5. PLHCP’s written medical opinion for the employer
    6. Additional examinations

    Silica Competent Person: An individual who is capable of identifying existing and foreseeable respirable crystalline silica hazards in the workplace and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate or minimize.

    Seven things to help you be in compliance with the new US OSHA construction silica regulation.

    1. Identify a silica competent person and ensure they are trained appropriately
    2. Decide if Table 1 can be used or if an exposure assessment must be done
                - Using Table 1 - fully and properly implement all required controls (example: ensure tools operate per the manufacturer’s instructions)  
                - Not using Table 1 – conduct exposure assessment of workers
    3. Develop the written exposure control plan 
    4. Implement the exposure control plan 
    5. Conduct frequent and regular inspections of the jobsite and modify the plan as conditions change
    6. Call in qualified persons to support the competent person with complex or unique situations
    7. Review the plan at the end of the project for lessons learned and incorporate them into future plans 

    Note: This is a brief overview of compliance. The employer must read and understand 29 CFR1926.1153 and all other US OSHA silica compliance directives prior to starting any silica work. 



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Respiratory protection based on the OSHA Construction Silica regulation revision

This is only a brief overview. Consult the full OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1926.1153 before starting any silica work.

Download Infographic (PDF, 598 KB)

  • 8210

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    • Multiple airflow rate options for comfort
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    • Compatible with multiple configurations of headtops, breathing tubes, batteries, filters, and cartridges

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    • Helps provide respiratory protection, plus limited head and eye protection
    • Six-strap textile suspension offers excellent comfort
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    • Rugged, durable PAPR system
    • Constant flow of air can provide cooling for the worker, resulting in greater comfort
    • Battery-powered blower pulls the air through the filter 

    Where to buy

    TR-300

    3M™ Versaflo™ PAPR Assembly TR-300 Series
     

    • Slim profile is designed for use in tight spaces
    • Alarms alert the user to either a low battery or low airflow
    • Lightweight lithium ion battery quickly charges

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      Let us help you in your efforts to keep your workers healthy and safe by signing up to receive emails containing tools and information on the new regulation.

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    • All fields are required unless indicated optional

    • Footnote: This is only a brief overview. Consult the full OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1926.1153 before starting any silica work.

      3M takes your privacy seriously. 3M and its authorized third parties will use the information you provided in accordance with our Privacy Policy to send you communications which may include promotions, product information and service offers.

      Please be aware that this information may be stored on a server located in the U.S. If you do not consent to this use of your personal information, please do not use this system.

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