Industries and Contractors Impacted:

  • Building Construction
  • Concrete & masonry contractors
  • Demolition
  • Earthwork and rock crushing/drilling
  • Road construction and repair
  • Abrasive blasting (sand blasting)
  • Oil & Gas – fracking

 

Dust created by cutting, grinding, drilling or disturbing sand, stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar can contain crystalline silica particles.

These small particles cannot be seen and when inhaled, can cause Silicosis, Tuberculosis, emphysema, pneumonia, stomach and other cancers.

 

Silicosis is an incurable lung disease caused by breathing in the silica dust and causes scarring in the lungs.

Symptoms Include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Cyanosis – a bluish discoloration of the skin from poor circulation or inadequate oxygenation of the blood

 

OSHA’S Final Rule

Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift. It provides flexibility to help employers protect workers from silica exposure.

 

The rule 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

 

There are two primary methods that exist to control silica dust while operating a stationary saw.

  • Wet cutting – When used properly, is an effective way to reduce employee exposures to silica dust and in most cases, maintains exposures below the allowable limit.
  • Vacuum dust collection – This can significantly reduce silica levels, but may not reliably keep them below the PEL.

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