OSHA Respirable Crystalline Silica Rule- Mesa Labs

The new OSHA Respirable Crystalline Silica Rule was published in March of 2016. All industries have responded which raised various questions regarding the new rule. Industry leaders want to know how they will be affected and why the new rule was written.

 

Mesa Labs wants to simplify the compliance process for its customers and thus has defined main points of the rule in an easy-to-follow manner.

  • Respirable Crystalline Silica is one of the most abundant materials in the Earth’s crust. It exists in three distinct forms: quartz, cristobalite, and tridymite. It occurs in the workplace when workers cut, grind, drill, saw, crush or process materials such as rock, sand, glass, stone, or brick. It can also be a byproduct of sandblasting, and hydraulic fracturing.
  • This rule is necessary because robust evidence indicates that current exposure limits do not protect workers’ health. Also, OSHA believes the new standards will prevent 642 deaths per year, which is projected to save employers $7.6 billion per year, based on the reduced mortality rates.
  • The new rule differs in three primary ways:
    • The new Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) is 50µg/m3 per eight-hour Time Weighted Average (TWA) and employers must measure worker exposure if levels reach or exceed 25 µg/m3 as an eight-hour TWA.
    • Employers will implement techniques to greatly reduce workers’ exposure, such as wetting down or vacuuming dust to prevent workers from breathing it in.
    • Employers are also required to identify high-exposure areas and limit access to those areas. They are also required to offer respiratory protection plans, and possibly medical exams.

The new rule is set to a timeline, determined by OSHA.

  • June 23, 2017 – the construction industry must comply
  • June 23, 2018 – general and maritime industries must comply
  • June 23, 2018 – the hydraulic fracturing industry must comply

 

Source: http://mesalabs.com/2017/07/05/osha-respirable-crystalline-silica-rule/

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