Posts Tagged silica dust

How should I sample to comply with OSHA’s silica dust standard?

“So, silica…”dusty

This was how many conversations started while exhibiting at conference  last week. OSHA released its rule for occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica back in March and many are still looking to understand how it will affect their business and employees.

The new rule goes into effect on June 23, 2016 and most business will have between one to five years to comply depending on industry. The new standard reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift. This is a reduction is two to five times lower than the previous PEL.

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Construction Workers Should Have More Protection From Silica Dust

roadconstructionIf you haven’t heard that silica dust can cause silicosis and can also lead to lung cancer, you’ve had your head in the sand for too long.

Sand. Silica dust. Get it? Ok, that was lame…

Anyway, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this continues to be an area of concern. In the most recent issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, a new report finds that more should be done to reduce workers from exposure to silica dust. Researchers call for stronger regulations, increased awareness and prevention, and greater attention to early detection of silicosis and lung cancer using low-dose CT scanning.

The article on the NIH website states:

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Finding the right respiratory protection for the fracking industry

An article in last month’s Industrial Safety and Hygiene News had some fairly compelling statistics about worker exposure to potentially dangerous airborne silica at hydraulic fracturing operation sites.

Of the 116 samples collected at 11 different U.S. fracking sites:

  • 47% showed silica exposures greater than the calculated OSHA PEL.
  • 79% showed silica exposures greater than the NIOSH REL of 0.05 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3).
  • 9% of all samples showed silica exposures 10 or more times the PEL, with one sample more than 25 times the PEL.
  • 31% of all samples showed silica exposures 10 or more times the REL, with one sample more than 100 times the REL.

So, how do you keep workers safe? Do you have a respiratory protection plan in place? Do you have the right safety and personal protection equipment?

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