OSHA UPDATE: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America's workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica. About 2.3 million workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in their workplaces, including 2 million construction workers who drill, cut, crush, or grind silica-containing materials such as concrete and stone.

Key Provisions

  • Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift.
  • Requires employers to: use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) to limit worker exposure to the PEL; provide respirators when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure; limit worker access to high exposure areas; develop a written exposure control plan, offer medical exams to highly exposed workers, and train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures.
  • Provides medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers and gives them information about their lung health.
  • Provides flexibility to help employers — especially small businesses — protect workers from silica exposure.

Compliance Schedule

Both standards contained in the final rule took effect on June 23, 2016, after which industries have one to five years to comply with most requirements, based on the following schedule:

Construction - September 23, 2017. OSHA delayed enforcement in order to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employer. See the memorandum. (per 9/20/17 memorandum, during the first 30 days of enforcement, employers who OSHA determines are making a good faith effort to meet the new standard will be assisted by OSHA in meeting the new requirements to assure understanding and compliance)

Classes Available

Lawson & Associates is offering a 4-hour course is designed to instruct employers, managers, supervisors, safety professionals and competent persons responsible for compliance with  OSHA's Final Rule for Respirable Crystalline Silica (29 CFR 1926.1153).  Dates for Spring 2018 are online now, and more dates are being added.  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Course participants will learn where to find Respirable Crystalline Silica in the workplace, the hazards of Respirable Crystalline Silica, the 2 options for compliance, the 2 options for monitoring, and requirements for all employers with potential exposure. Participants will receive a certificate of training upon completion of the course.

This course will be held from 7:00 am - 11:00 am at the Building Industry Association, Construction Training Center of the Pacific,  94-487 Akoki Street, Waipahu, HI.

More Info:

For all operations in general industry and maritime, other than hydraulic fracturing operations in the oil and gas industry:

  • Employers are required to comply with all obligations of the standard, with the exception of the action level trigger for medical surveillance, by June 23, 2018.
  • Employers are required to offer medical examinations to employees exposed above the PEL for 30 or more days a year beginning on June 23, 2018.
  • Employers are required to offer medical examinations to employees exposed at or above the action level for 30 or more days a year beginning on June 23, 2020.

EM 385-1-1 Update: EM 385-1-1 Section 21.C.04 requires that eighteen (18) months from the effective date of the 30 November 2014 manual (March 1, 2015), acceptable Competent Person for Fall Protection training shall be a MINIMUM of 24 hours, with a combination of formal classroom training and practical applications. This means that September 1, 2016 this requirement went into effect.

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