Businesses Required to Assess and Mitigate Risks to Workers
The phase in period for the new silica standard which took effect last June (2016) was scheduled to end on June 23, 2017 for the construction industry. However, Federal OSHA has delayed enforcement of the standard for three months to conduct additional industry outreach to provide further education and guidance.
Cal-OSHA will follow suit by delaying enforcement to “synchronize” with Federal OSHA. Nevertheless, employees may not be exposed above the recently established permissible exposure limit established in October of 2016.
The new standard which went into effect last June was put in place to protect workers in the construction industry. Exposure to silica can lead to significant and irreversible pulmonary disease. Based on ongoing epidemiological studies the allowable exposure limits for silica have been significantly reduced to worker exposure.
The new Cal-OSHA Construction Safety Order 1532.3 delineates requirements for the construction industry to follow and apples to all occupational exposures which may exceed the action level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air (ug/m3).
Employers covered under the construction industry standard are required to implement control methods specified in the standard based on equipment being used and tasks being conducted. These requirements are detailed in Table 1 of 1532.3. In addition to the task specific control methods outlined in Table 1 employers are required to implement respiratory protection, housekeeping, exposure control planning, medical surveillance, hazard communication, record keeping and monitoring.
Need help assessing exposure and implementing control methods? Contact David Schack at David.Schack@altaenviron.com or call us at (800) 777-0605.