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BREAKING: Silica Rules Made Final

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The Department of Labor announced today a final rule to provide protection for workers exposed to silica dust. Silica dust was originally identified as a deadly hazard by Labor Secretary Frances Perkins more than 80 years ago.

According to OSHA, crystalline silica is "a basic component of soil, sand, granite and many other minerals...that may become respirable size particles when workers chip, cut, drill, or grind objects that contain crystalline silica." When this dust enters the respiratory system, it could lead to lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other illnesses down the road.

Here is a rundown of the new rule:

  • Permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica will be reduced to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour shift.
  • Construction employers are now provided a table of specified controls they can follow to stay compliant, without having to monitor exposures.
  • Compliance dates have been staggered to allow more time for some industries to meet requirements - employers in the construction industry must comply with the new standard by June 23, 2017, the deadline for other industries is June 23, 2018.
  • Employers are now required to use engineering controls and work practices to limit worker exposure; provide respiratory protection when needed; limit access to high exposure areas; train workers and provide medical exams to workers in high exposure.

OSHA estimates that this rule will save 600 lives annually and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year.


Mancomm's 29 CFR 1910 General Industry and 29 CFR 1926 Construction both include the updated silica standard. Click here to shop now!

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