Cinnaminson, NJ, May 5th, 2016
In March, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica.
According to OSHA, approximately 2.3 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in the workplace. This includes 2 million construction workers who drill, cut, crush or grind silica-containing materials and 300,000 workers in general industry operations such as brick manufacturing, foundries and hydraulic fracturing. OSHA estimates the new rule will save over 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year, once its effects are fully realized. The agency also projects this action will provide net benefits of about $7.7 billion, annually.
The rule is comprised of two standards, one for Construction and one for General Industry and Maritime. It includes the following key provisions:
- Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift.
- Requires employers to use engineering controls to limit worker exposure to the PEL; provide respirators when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure; limit worker access to high exposure areas; develop a written exposure control plan; offer medical exams to highly exposed workers; and train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposure.
- Provides medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers and gives them information about their lung health.
- Provides flexibility to help employers, especially small businesses, protect workers from silica exposure.
“The new rule with its reduced PEL for respirable crystalline silica is welcomed news for millions of workers,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Preventing and reducing exposure is the key to preventing silicosis and the debilitating and deadly consequences of the disease. At EMSL, we are pleased to offer testing services to identify crystalline silica and help companies and government agencies comply with OSHA’s new final rule.”
EMSL provides air and bulk sample analyses using NIOSH Method 7500, NIOSH Method 7501 and OSHA Method ID-142. They also recently sponsored an educational video about silicosis and crystalline silica that can be seen at: http://youtu.be/gLfsdhB2bz8.
To learn more about crystalline silica testing services or other environmental, occupational, health and safety testing services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality, consumer product and materials testing services and products for professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.