An OSHA rule requiring engineering controls to keep workers from breathing silica dust went into effect June 23, 2016. The rule is comprised of two standards, one for Construction and one for General Industry and Maritime, and is meant to limit worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica which is known to cause lung cancer, silicosis, COPD and kidney disease. The rule is projected to save over 600 lives and provide annual net benefits of over $7.7 billion. Currently, about 2.3 million workers are exposed to the harmful dust but this exposure can be limited through water or vacuum systems which control the dust. The new rule requires employers to implement these exposure limiting controls, provide medical exams for exposed works, regulate exposure times and allow workers flexibility to avoid exposure. The rule is in effect and gives employers one to five years to comply based on business type.
For more information visit: https://www.osha.gov/silica/