OSHA Silica Compliance Guidelines
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. The rule is comprised of two standards, one for Construction and one for General Industry and Maritime.
Responsible employers have been protecting workers from harmful exposure to respirable crystalline silica for years, using widely-available equipment that controls dust with water or a vacuum system. The final rule on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica in Construction, published on March 25, 2016, established a new Permissible Exposure Limit and contained several other ancillary provisions that apply to the construction industry. This rule was codified at 29 CFR §1926.1153 and became effective on June 23, 2016.
Enforcement begins September 23, 2017.
What are the New Rules for Our Industry?
- The new OSHA rules reduce 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 controls to limit worker exposure to the PEL as detailed in Table 1 and provide respiratory protection when required See Offical Guidance.
- Requires employers to develop a written exposure control plan, designate an employee dedicated to Osha Silica Compliance, offer medical exams to highly exposed workers, and train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures.
Dust Collector and Equipment Compliance Guidelines
Walk Behind Grinders should be used with a HEPA filtered dust collection system recommended by the manufacturer and have a filter cleaning mechanism. Dust collection bags must be emptied/replaced to avoid overfilling. The dust collection system used must be capable of maintaining the air flow recommended by the manufacturer.
The current offering of Pantheon dust collectors model BDC122, BDC1220, BDC1330, and BDC3140 feature H14 class HEPA filters that meet the standard of being 99.97 % efficient at removing mono-dispersed particles of 0.3 micrometers in diameter and include filter cleaning in pulse and/or manual shaker styles. For some of the older model Pantheon dust collectors, HEPA filter upgrade kits are available. There is also a HEPA filter kit available for the smaller Pantheon model BDC1216.
Handheld grinders must be equipped with commercially available shroud and dust collection system. The dust collector must provide 25 cubic feet per minute (CFM) or greater airflow per each inch of the grinding wheel diameter and must also be equipped with a filter with 99% efficiency and filter cleaning mechanism. Pantheon dust shrouds are easy to install (no tools required) and are designed to fit 7” 15 amp grinders and come with inserts to fit Blastrac, DeWalt, Milwaukee, Hitachi, and Metabo grinders.
Loose dust left on the floor/surface must be cleaned with HEPA filtered dust collector to prevent loose dust from being re-suspended. Referred to as “housekeeping” in the OSHA Silica Rule, cleaning methods such as dry sweeping/dry brushing or use of compressed air to remove concrete dust must be replaced by wet sweeping or use of HEPA filter vacuum. Pantheon offers wands and floor tools to help you stay dustless.
Pantheon is Here to Help
CALL US AT 720-504-5800 OR CONTACT US VIA EMAIL AT SALES@PANTHEONSURFACEPREP.COM
- Schedule an informational webinar hosted by Pantheon
- Pantheon can do a review of your current equipment for compliance to insure that you have
the proper equipment, proper dust collection systems, proper dust shrouds
- Pantheon will assist with the upgrade of your equipment/dust collection systems that are out of compliance
- Pantheon will assist with jobsite compliance and jobsite disposal plans and can help with your written safety plan