Cinnaminson, NJ, February 7th, 2018
In just 4 months, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is scheduled to begin enforcement actions for the new respirable crystalline silica standard for general industry and maritime operations. Companies and institutions have until June 23rd to be ready. The new rule follows a similar action that took effect for the construction industry back in September of last year.
OSHA reports that approximately 295,000 workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in over 75,000 general industry and maritime workplaces. Exposure to respirable crystalline silica can cause silicosis, lung cancer, other respiratory diseases and kidney disease. The agency estimates that over 100,000 workers in general industry and maritime occupations are exposed to silica levels that exceed the new permissible exposure limit (PEL).
The standard for general industry and maritime requires employers to:
- Measure the amount of silica that workers are exposed to if it may be at or above an action level of 25 μg/m3, averaged over an 8-hour day;
- Protect workers from respirable crystalline silica exposures above the permissible exposure limit of 50 μg/m3, averaged over an 8-hour day;
- Limit workers’ access to areas where they could be exposed above the PEL;
- Use dust controls to protect workers from silica exposures above the PEL;
- Provide respirators to workers when dust controls cannot limit exposures to the PEL;
- Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica where feasible alternatives are available;
- Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers;
- Offer medical exams (including chest X-rays and lung function tests) every three years for workers exposed at or above the action level for 30 or more days per year;
- Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure; and
- Keep records of workers’ silica exposure and medical exams.
“Respirable crystalline silica is a potential health threat to employees in numerous occupations impacted by this new rule for maritime and general industries,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Just a few of the major industry sectors that OSHA reports will be affected include foundries, ready-mix and concrete operations, support activities for oil and gas operations, railroads, shipyards, roofing material production and even dental laboratories.”
To protect workers and help to keep companies in regulatory compliance, EMSL offers industrial hygiene and environmental analysis for crystalline silica and other respirable hazards. The laboratory provides all of the sampling supplies necessary to collect samples, offers air monitoring equipment and a comprehensive range of personal protective equipment. EMSL also recently sponsored an educational video about the new crystalline silica rule for maritime and general industry that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/cxfYvqi1jIM.
To learn more about this or other occupational, environmental, air quality, 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, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with 43 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella
, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com
for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.