OSHA is continuing its efforts to enforce its new silica rule. The construction rule became enforceable in October 2017, and the general industry rule in July 2018. The rule mandates employers limit workers’ exposure to breathable silica dust by using such measures as vacuuming, using water to control dust, and installing air filtering systems. Having workers wear respirators is allowed when other measures fail, or are not feasible.
In fiscal year 2018, OSHA conducted 381 inspections related to the silica rule, and about 70 percent resulted in citations.
The most common violation was failing to conduct an exposure assessment. The rule mandates employers look at the silica risks for workers and write a plan to reduce exposure.
Another common violation was not including breathable silica in warnings on hazardous materials at worksites.
GBCA offers its Silica Safety Program free to GBCA members. This program helps contractors assess silica exposure through air quality monitoring. GBCA members receive discounted monitoring services, free testing equipment, and access to industry-wide silica sampling data.
Sign up today!
To help in developing a written, site-specific Silica Plan, check out CPWR’s Create a Plan tool:
For more resources related to silica from OSHA, click below: