Print Posted By on 10/17/2017 in Small Business Tips

Are you OSHA compliant?

Are you OSHA compliant?
The PEL limits worker exposures to 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air (μg/m3 ), averaged over an eight-hour day. This level is the same for all workplaces covered by the standard (general industry/maritime and construction),  and is roughly 50 percent of the previous PEL for general industry, and roughly 20 percent of the previous PEL for construction and shipyards.

“Exposure to respirable crystalline silica can cause silicosis, lung cancer, other respiratory diseases, and kidney disease.”                                                                                                         -OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor

Employers must use engineering controls and work practices as the primary way keep exposures at or below the PEL.   
  • Engineering controls include wetting down work operations or using local exhaust ventilation (such as vacuums) to keep silica-containing dust out of the air and out of workers’ lungs. 
  •  Another control method that may work well is enclosing an operation (“process isolation”).  
  • Examples of work practices to control silica exposures include using the water flow rate recommended by the manufacturer for a tool with water controls.

In 1938, the Department of Labor produced a film titled "Stop Silicosis." Secretary Frances Perkins concluded that silica dust was dangerous, and can be prevented.

Advantages of Respiratory Mask Use:
  1. Light-weight
  2. Comfortable
  3. Provides extra coverage for other preventative practices
*Respirators are only allowed when engineering and work practice controls cannot maintain exposures at or below the PEL.

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