Construction workers where ya at?! First of all kudos to our men and women that take on the weather elements everyday to continue building America! Stay safe, hydrated and aware of the Silica Dust that you breathe in!

Dust created when working with crystalline silica contains harmful particles. And although respirable crystalline silica looks like dust, it’s much more harmful to workers’ lungs. In fact, silica dust is a carcinogen, and breathing it in causes the formation of scar tissue, reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen. Together, these facts stress the importance of adhering to safe work procedures related to respirable crystalline silica.

Employees could be exposed to respirable crystalline silica when performing work involving chipping, cutting, drilling, grinding or similar activities on materials containing crystalline silica. In order to keep employees safe, it’s critical you establish a safe working environment and ensure all parties closely follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards related to respirable crystalline silica (29 CFR 1926.1153).

In general, the rule includes standards that reduce the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (50 µg/m3). The rule also requires employers to implement specific measures to protect workers. This guide provides general instructions employers can use to implement workplace controls and comply with the standard.

Per the standard, employers need to train and inform employees about respirable crystalline silica hazards. Specifically, training should cover:

  • The health hazards associated with respirable crystalline silica (e.g., cancer and lung disease)
  • Workplace tasks that could expose employees to respirable crystalline silica
  • Workplace controls used to protect employees from respirable crystalline silica
  • The details of the silica standard
  • The identity of the competent person
  • The purpose and a description of the medical surveillance program

Training should also note what specific tasks contractors perform and what Table 1 controls are needed as a result. The silica standard does not require employers to use any particular method for training employees. In general, it is recommended that training is administered by the competent person. Contact Stapleton Insurance Group for a sample training presentation—Silica Safety Training Presentation.

This blog is merely a brief informational piece. Consult your licensed Commercial Property and Casualty representative at Stapleton Insurance Group or legal counsel to address possible compliance requirements.

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