For the last few years, the construction industry has been preparing for the OSHA Silica Regulations for Construction and General Industry. Starting in 2017, employers had to assess the potential exposure to silica dust by their employees for various construction practices. On June 23, 2018, this regulation came into effect for general industry covering operations such as plants and laboratories.
Are your plant and lab compliant? For many companies, third-party testing has been performed to determine silica exposure risks. Depending on the concentrations of silica in the aggregates, each plant and lab may have different exposure levels. With assistance from Ms. Deonna Hargrove of Virginia’s Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) agency, the following guidelines should be considered by owners:
Each site can use industry-wide data as their objective data; however, the data must reflect workplace conditions closely resembling or with a higher exposure potential than the processes, types of material, control methods, work practices, and environmental conditions in the employer’s current operations.
Each site will have to make and maintain an accurate record of all objective data relied upon that complies with the requirements 1926.1153(j)(2).
Objective data includes information such as air monitoring data from industry-wide surveys or calculations based on the composition of a substance, demonstrating employee exposure to respirable crystalline silica associated with a particular product or material or a specific process, task, or activity.”
If you have any questions on the Silica regulation, feel free to contact the VAA office.