What You Need to Know
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America’s workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica. As this relates to the concrete polishing industry, the exposure limits of silica found in concrete, mortar, overlay products, terrazzo, stone, brick, grout, stucco, thinset, rock, block, self-levelers, color hardener, etc. must now comply as follows:
- Permissible Exposure Level (PEL): 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift
- Action Level (AL): 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift
For our industry (Construction), on Sept 23, 2017 you must be in compliance with this regulation.
OSHA estimates that the rule will save over 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year, once its effects are fully realized. The Final Rule is projected to provide net benefits of about $7.7 billion, annually.
How to Comply:
1. Use engineering controls to limit worker exposure to the PEL and familiarize yourself with Table 1, i.e. use the proper dust extraction equipment. How to choose the proper HEPA vacuum:
- High quality HEPA filters that are tested and certified, with a rating of at least 99.99 at 0.3 micron
- 25 CFM PER BLADE INCHES REQUIRED FOR HAND GRINDERS
- High CFM & Water Lift for proper matching to equipment
- Must have a mechanical filter cleaning method, contained allowing no dust to escape
- Multi levels of filtration, that include a cyclonic chamber, pre-filters, HEPA’s and pre-separators
- Drop down bagging containment systems, no dust can or tray
- Availability to attach tools for collection at the source
- Wet and dry availability when needed
2. Provide respirators when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure.
3. Develop a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers, including procedures to restrict access to work areas where high exposures may occur, and designate a competent person to implement.
4. Keep good records of workers’ silica exposure and medical exams.
5. Offer medical exams to highly exposed workers – including chest x-rays and lung function tests every three years for workers who are required by the standard to wear a respirator for 30 or more days per year.
6. Train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures.
What is Table 1?
Table 1 matches the common construction taks with dust control methods, so employers know exactly what they need to do to limit worker exposures to silica. The dust control measures listed in the table include methods known to be effective, like using water to keep dust from getting into the air or using ventilation to capture dust. In some operations, respiratros may also be needed.
Employers who follow Table 1 correctly are not required to measure workers’ exposure to silica and are not subject ot the PEL.
Fines for NOT Complying:
|Type of Violation||Previous Maxium Penalty||NEW Maximum Penalty|
|Serious||$7,000 per violation||$12,945 per violation|
|Failure to Abate||$7,000 per day||$12,945 per day|
|Willful or Repeated||$70,000 per violation||$129,000 per violation|
The Equipment You Need to Comply:
Pullman Ermator can help employers to easily meet or exceed the new safety standards, and protect employees from breathing in the particles and developing these harmful illnesses. Pullman Ermator’s approach to air cleaning and dust extraction is unparalleled, with every single HEPA filter being individually tested and certified at a filtration rate of 99.9% at 0.3 microns. The Longopac system and Jet Pulse filter cleaning system provide further protection against silicone dust, by keeping the dust completely contained when disposing of the dust or purging the prefilter.
|Dust Extractors||Air Scrubbers||Respirators||Shrouds|
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