Cinnaminson, NJ, April 7th
Earlier this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published instructions for implementing a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to identify and reduce or eliminate worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica (RCS). It applies to general industry, maritime and construction industries.
The new NEP instructions apply OSHA-wide and because it describes a federal program change, State Plan adoption is mandatory for those states with their own programs. Included with the instructions were OSHA highlights of various changes within the new NEP as compared to the one that was cancelled back in 2017. They include:
- The NEP contains an updated list of target industries, listed by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.
- This replacement NEP addresses enforcement of OSHA’s standards for RCS, promulgated in 2016. One standard covers general industry and maritime, and the other covers construction. Both standards set a permissible exposure limit (PEL) for RCS of 50 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA). The former TWA PELs for respirable quartz silica were calculated based on silica content and were approximately equivalent to 100 µg/m3 for general industry and 250 µg/m3 for construction and shipyards (81 FR at 16294, March 25, 2016).
- For inspection procedures, this NEP refers compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) to current enforcement guidance for the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standards.
- Area and Regional Offices shall comply with this NEP, but they are not required to develop and implement corresponding Local Emphasis Programs (LEPs) or Regional Emphasis Programs (REPs).
“Exposure to respirable crystalline silica can cause serious health issues for workers and costly noncompliance penalties for companies,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Workers that breathe crystalline silica may develop silicosis, an incurable lung disease that can lead to disability and death. Other medical conditions associated with exposure include lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and kidney disease. This is why industrial hygiene testing and access to the appropriate personal protective equipment is so vital and why OSHA penalties can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
The industrial hygiene testing experts at EMSL Analytical, Inc. provide testing to help minimize chances of airborne exposure hazards. EMSL’s nationwide network of laboratories provide comprehensive testing services, all of the sampling supplies needed, air monitoring instruments and even offer a comprehensive range of personal protective equipment (PPE).
To learn more about testing for crystalline silica and other occupational exposure risks, or for access to air monitoring instruments and PPE, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with 46 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-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC 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.