OSHA Silica Compliance for Construction is Here!

Silica safety

OSHA Silica Compliance for Construction in Effect September 23, 2017

We’ve been talking about OSHA’s Final Rule on Silica for months now and the construction deadline is around the corner. In less than 30 days from now, OSHA officials will begin inspections and issuing citations. If you’re not prepared, you could find yourself with a hefty list of citations and a press release from OSHA.

So How Do I Avoid Citations?

In the simplest terms: Get Busy! If you aren’t sure if you’re ready, then chances are, there’s work to be done. The best first step is to take this self-assessment. You’ll find a list of 10 questions and a scoring box to determine what steps you need to take next. After you’ve identified what steps you’ve completed, you’ll know where to go next! Start talking with professionals who can assist you in this process and get busy! OSHA Silica compliance is no small endeavor and it never hurts to receive help.

Frequently Asked Questions!

Through numerous workshops and webinars, we’ve received many questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and our answers!

  1. I understand the enforcement date for construction has been pushed to September. Do you anticipate another delay in enforcement?
    • After speaking with the Directorate of Construction Enforcement in Washington D.C., we do not anticipate any further delay in enforcement from OSHA. You can expect enforcement to begin at the dates specified for your industry.
  2. Will OSHA offer a ‘trial period’ after the enforcement deadline before issuing citations?
    • We must remember that OSHA is foremost an enforcement agency. They have provided ample time for employers to study, understand and implement the standard and are ready to get to work. Once the enforcement date is upon us, OSHA’s role is simply to enforce the rule by issuing citations. We have been made aware that the area offices are poised to issue a standard ‘package’ of four serious citations for $50,700, which is over the limit to issue a press release!
  3. How many workers do you need to measure for silica exposure per crew?
    • 25% – Industrial Hygiene Sampling best practice indicates at least 25% of the crew. For example, if you have 100 employees and 10 of them are exposed to a silica generating activity, you would test three of those employees!
  4. If my task is on Table 1, do we need maintain record exposure monitoring?
    • No, tasks that are listed on Table 1 do not require exposure monitoring if the OSHA recommended exposure controls are followed. Therefore, there would be no exposure monitoring data to maintain.
  5. If my task is on Table 1, is it adequate to simply apply the control that OSHA recommends if there is still a visible dust cloud?
    • No, the standard requires that you apply whatever controls are available to eliminate or minimize a visible dust cloud. For example, increasing water flow to eliminate fugitive dust would be required.
  6. Do we have to keep logs of which employee wore a respirator on which day?
    • Not unless you have an employee who infrequently (less than 30 days per year) wears a respirator. You might want to keep a log to have proof that their use did not exceed 30 days annually.
  7. Are Precast Concrete Product Manufacturers required to include a Safety Data Sheet with their product when it is shipped?­
    • YES, absolutely. The product contains silica and therefore a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) with the appropriate warnings must be provided. Members of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI), can find an SDS for their product on the PCI Member website.

We’re here to help you during this process! If, at any point, you need an outside opinion or assistance, feel free to contact us. Our team of safety professionals is ready to help!

Looking for more resources? Find our self-assessment checklist, full webinar, and more resources here.

New OSHA Safety Procedures For Silica Require Employer Compliance