You’ve been hearing about respirable crystalline silica from OSHA and Safex for several years now. If you’re not already aware, exposure to silica dust, which often occurs when cutting, sawing or grinding rocks, concrete, mortar, etc., causes severe lung disease, including silicosis and lung cancer.
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To better protect workers from workplace hazards, OSHA has revised their National Emphasis Program (NEP) for silica. According to an OSHA press release on February 5, 2020, changes to the NEP include:
- “Revised application to the lower permissible exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) as an 8-hour time-weighted average in general industry, maritime, and construction;
- Updated list of target industries, as listed in the appendix of the NEP; from this list, area offices will develop randomized establishment lists of employers in their local jurisdictions for targeted inspections;
- Compliance safety and health officers will refer to current enforcement guidance for RCS inspection procedures;
- All OSHA regional and area offices must comply with this NEP, but they are not required to develop and implement corresponding regional or local emphasis programs; and
- State Plans must participate because of the nationwide exposures to silica.”
Contact us with your silica questions and please let us know how we can assist you in keeping your workers safe.