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OSHA Crystalline Silica Rules

Starting September 23rd, 2017

Silica, present in concrete dust, is a hazardous material and is the focus of the new OSHA regulation 1926.1153. This regulation has a compliance date for general construction by September 23, 2017. The new OSHA respirable crystalline silica dust regulation offers several options for compliance and at Toolbarn we want to help you understand those options. Crystalline Silica, which is found in concrete dust, is a hazardous material that has garnered a lot of attention over the past several years and is focus of OSHA regulation 1926.1153. The new regulations makes it mandatory for construction firms and workers to abide by the new rule and the deadline is September 23, 2017. The new regulations offer several compliance options and Toolbarn wants to help you understand what your options are.

Why It's Needed

During the 1930s, the US Department of Labor began to notice the dangers of respirable crystalline silica after a large number of worker deaths. The department set standards in 1971, however those standards are now obsolete and do not protect workers from silica-related diseases.

After a full review with industry experts, scientists and construction professionals, OSHA began to create new rules to protect construction workers from the dangers of crystalline silica. Some substantial changes include enhanced employer flexibility in choosing how to reduce levels of silica while maintaining and improving worker protection.

Key Provisions
  • Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift.
  • Requires employers to: use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) to limit worker exposure to the PEL; provide respirators when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure; limit worker access to high exposure areas; develop a written exposure control plan, offer medical exams to highly exposed workers, and train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures.
  • Provides medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers and gives them information about their lung health.
  • Provides flexibility to help employers — especially small businesses — protect workers from silica exposure.

Deadlines

Construction - September 23, 2017. OSHA delayed enforcement in order to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employer.

General Industry and Maritime - June 23, 2018, two years after the effective date.

Requirements by Equipment/Task

Equipment/task

Engineering and work practice control methods

Required respiratory protection and minimum assigned protection factor (APF)

≤ 4 hours/shift

>4 hours/shift

(i) Stationary masonry saws

Use saw equipped with integrated water delivery system that continuously feeds water to the blade
Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer's instructions to minimize dust emissions

None

None

(ii) Handheld power saws (any blade diameter)

Use saw equipped with integrated water delivery system that continuously feeds water to the blade
Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer's instructions to minimize dust emissions:

   

-When used outdoors

None

APF 10

-When used indoors or in an enclosed area

APF 10

APF 10

(iii) Handheld power saws for cutting fiber-cement board (with blade diameter of 8 inches or less)

For tasks performed outdoors only:
Use saw equipped with commercially available dust collection system
Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer's instructions to minimize dust emissions
Dust collector must provide the air flow recommended by the tool manufacturer, or greater, and have a filter with 99% or greater efficiency

None

None

(iv) Walk-behind saws

Use saw equipped with integrated water delivery system that continuously feeds water to the blade
Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer's instructions to minimize dust emissions:

   

-When used outdoors

None

None

-When used indoors or in an enclosed area

APF 10

APF 10

(v) Drivable saws

For tasks performed outdoors only:

   

Use saw equipped with integrated water delivery system that continuously feeds water to the blade
Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer's instructions to minimize dust emissions

None

None

(vi) Rig-mounted core saws or drills

Use tool equipped with integrated water delivery system that supplies water to cutting surface
Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer's instructions to minimize dust emissions

None

None

(vii) Handheld and stand-mounted drills (including impact and rotary hammer drills)

Use drill equipped with commercially available shroud or cowling with dust collection system
Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer's instructions to minimize dust emissions
Dust collector must provide the air flow recommended by the tool manufacturer, or greater, and have a filter with 99% or greater efficiency and a filter-cleaning mechanism
Use a HEPA-filtered vacuum when cleaning holes

None

None

(viii) Dowel drilling rigs for concrete

For tasks performed outdoors only:

   

Use shroud around drill bit with a dust collection system. Dust collector must have a filter with 99% or greater efficiency and a filtercleaning mechanism
Use a HEPA-filtered vacuum when cleaning holes

APF 10

APF 10

(ix) Vehicle-mounted drilling rigs for rock and concrete

Use dust collection system with close capture hood or shroud around drill bit with a low-flow water spray to wet the dust at the discharge point from the dust collector

None

None

OR

   

Operate from within an enclosed cab and use water for dust suppression on drill bit

None

None

(x) Jackhammers and handheld powered chipping tools

Use tool with water delivery system that supplies a continuous stream or spray of water at the point of impact:

   

-When used outdoors

None

APF 10

-When used indoors or in an enclosed area

APF 10

APF 10

OR

   

Use tool equipped with commercially available shroud and dust collection system

   

Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer's instructions to minimize dust emissions

   

Dust collector must provide the air flow recommended by the tool manufacturer, or greater, and have a filter with 99% or greater efficiency and a filter-cleaning mechanism:

   

-When used outdoors

None

APF 10

-When used indoors or in an enclosed area

APF 10

APF 10

(xi) Handheld grinders for mortar removal (i.e., tuckpointing)

Use grinder equipped with commercially available shroud and dust collection system

APF 10

APF 25

Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer's instructions to minimize dust emissions

   

Dust collector must provide 25 cubic feet per minute (cfm) or greater of airflow per inch of wheel diameter and have a filter with 99% or greater efficiency and a cyclonic pre-separator or filter-cleaning mechanism

   

(xii) Handheld grinders for uses other than mortar removal

For tasks performed outdoors only:
Use grinder equipped with integrated water delivery system that continuously feeds water to the grinding surface

None

None

Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer's instructions to minimize dust emissions

   

OR

   

Use grinder equipped with commercially available shroud and dust collection system

   

Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer's instructions to minimize dust emissions

   

Dust collector must provide 25 cubic feet per minute (cfm) or greater of airflow per inch of wheel diameter and have a filter with 99% or greater efficiency and a cyclonic pre-separator or filter-cleaning mechanism:

   

-When used outdoors

None

None

-When used indoors or in an enclosed area

None

APF 10

(xiii) Walk-behind milling machines and floor grinders

Use machine equipped with integrated water delivery system that continuously feeds water to the cutting surface

None

None

Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer's instructions to minimize dust emissions

   

OR

   

Use machine equipped with dust collection system recommended by the manufacturer

None

None

Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer's instructions to minimize dust emissions

   

Dust collector must provide the air flow recommended by the manufacturer, or greater, and have a filter with 99% or greater efficiency and a filter-cleaning mechanism

   

When used indoors or in an enclosed area, use a HEPA-filtered vacuum to remove loose dust in between passes

   

(xiv) Small drivable milling machines (less than half-lane)

Use a machine equipped with supplemental water sprays designed to suppress dust. Water must be combined with a surfactant

None

None

Operate and maintain machine to minimize dust emissions

   

(xv) Large drivable milling machines (half-lane and larger)

For cuts of any depth on asphalt only:
Use machine equipped with exhaust ventilation on drum enclosure and supplemental water sprays designed to suppress dust

None

None

Operate and maintain machine to minimize dust emissions

   

For cuts of four inches in depth or less on any substrate:

   

Use machine equipped with exhaust ventilation on drum enclosure and supplemental water sprays designed to suppress dust

None

None

Operate and maintain machine to minimize dust emissions

   

OR

   

Use a machine equipped with supplemental water spray designed to suppress dust. Water must be combined with a surfactant

None

None

Operate and maintain machine to minimize dust emissions

   

(xvi) Crushing machines

Use equipment designed to deliver water spray or mist for dust suppression at crusher and other points where dust is generated (e.g., hoppers, conveyers, sieves/sizing or vibrating components, and discharge points)

None

None

Operate and maintain machine in accordance with manufacturer's instructions to minimize dust emissions

   

Use a ventilated booth that provides fresh, climate-controlled air to the operator, or a remote control station

   

(xvii) Heavy equipment and utility vehicles used to abrade or fracture silica-containing materials (e.g., hoe-ramming, rock ripping) or used during demolition activities involving silica-containing materials

Operate equipment from within an enclosed cab

None

None

When employees outside of the cab are engaged in the task, apply water and/or dust suppressants as necessary to minimize dust emissions

None

None

(xviii) Heavy equipment and utility vehicles for tasks such as grading and excavating but not including: Demolishing, abrading, or fracturing silica-containing materials

Apply water and/or dust suppressants as necessary to minimize dust emissions

None

None

OR

   

When the equipment operator is the only employee engaged in the task, operate equipment from within an enclosed cab

None

None