OSHA has enacted new regulations on silica standards over the last few years to prevent workers from contracting silicosis, a lung disease caused by inhaling dust that contains silica.

Now the agency has issued a 24-page manual that establishes and standardizes how OSHA inspectors will enforce new standards, including a June 2020 requirement that companies offer medical surveillance to all workers exposed to 25 µg/m action level for 30 or more days in a year.

The manual covers general industry, construction, and the maritime industry. 

The new regulations OSHA adopted have mandated and tightened the standards on what is an acceptable worker exposure to silica and the personal protective equipment workers must use.

Workers are exposed to crystalline silica in a number of workplaces, including mining, manufacturing, construction, and shipyard.

Among the processes associated with high rates of silica exposure are sandblasting, sand-casting in foundry operations, tunneling, cement cutting and concrete demolition, masonry, and cutting and grinding stone and artificial stone.

Employers can avoid citation by reviewing Appendix F in the new manual (beginning page 116), which provides an inspection checklist for OSHA investigators.

OSHA said it’s likely that many of its inspectors will use these lists, so by reviewing them, employers can learn how to best prepare for a possible inspection.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Phillip Montgomery (860.244.1982).