Crystalline silica (“silica”) is a hazardous material common in construction materials and worksites. If the dust particles are released from cutting or drilling certain construction material, it can be inhaled and cause serious damage, including lung cancer. Previously our OSHA defense lawyers have discussed the importance of the new rule which was issued in March 2016. Below we have provided some need to know information concerning the new Silica update.
When to Expect Enforcement
The enforcement of the updated silica measure was scheduled for June 23rd, 2017. However, it has been pushed back to September 23, 2017. This delay allows OSHA to produce material on the changes, to disperse them to the construction industry, and to do more research on the impact of silica. Although the enforcement is not set to be enforced until June 2017, according to OSHA, employers in the construction industry are expected to be taking the necessary steps to implement this change.
The New Permissible Exposure Level
The Permissible Exposure Level is now 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (29 CFR 1926.62) over an 8-hour shift. The previous Permissible Exposure Level was 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The cost of the new permissible exposure level is estimated at billions of dollars and loss of jobs but that hasn’t deterred OSHA from making this much needed change. The hope is to decrease the exposure to silicosis (a disease caused by silica) among construction workers.
Required Medical Attention
According to the new law, workers exposed to silica must have a medical examination every three years. The updated rule also requires contractors to document workers exposed to silica. Symptoms of silicosis can show weeks later or years later. For that reason, it is most effective to record all workers exposed to silica for long periods of time.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.