HTH Safety Solutions
Who is affected by the Construction Standard?
Effective 9/23/2017, OSHA's Respirable Crystalline Silica standard for construction requires employers to limit worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica and to take other steps to protect workers. Exposure can occur during common construction tasks such as using masonry saws, grinders, drills, jackhammers and handheld powered chipping tools; operating vehicle-mounted drilling rigs; milling; operating crushing machines; and using heavy equipment for demolition or certain other tasks.
The construction standard does not apply where exposures will remain low under any foreseeable conditions; for example, when only performing tasks such as mixing mortar; pouring concrete footers, slab foundation and foundation walls; and removing concrete formwork.
What does the standard require?
The standard requires employers to limit worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica and to take other steps to protect workers. Regardless of which exposure control method is used, all construction employers covered by the standard are required to:
- Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers, including procedures to restrict access to work areas where high exposures may occur. Designate a competent person to implement the written exposure control plan.
- Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica where feasible alternatives are available.
- Offer medical exams including chest X-rays and lung function tests every three years for workers who are required by the standard to wear a respirator for 30 or more days per year.
- Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure.
- Keep records of workers silica exposure and medical exams.
- Are you using compliant exposure control methods?
- Per OSHA, compliant exposure control methods are determined using Table 1: Specified Exposure Control Methods When Working with Materials Containing Crystalline Silica. For each employee engaged in a task identified on
Table 1, the employer shall fully and properly implement the engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection specified for the task. Compliance with Table 1 is upon company discretion and list of tasks should not be viewed as all inclusive.