The OSHA Silica Rule – what you need to know
|What is Silica Dust?
Silica or silicon dioxide is a group IV metal dioxide which occurs naturally in both crystalline and amorphous forms.
|Why the rule?
Silica has been shown to cause lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in workers with prolonged exposure.
|What is the standard?
OSHA silica permissible exposure limit (PEL) is not to exceed 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air averaged over an 8-hour day.
Enforcement began September 23, 2017
Employers are required to take measures to control silica through using water, dust collection systems, ventilation or providing respirators.
All ICS, Merit and Pentruder power cutters, walk behind saws, mounted saws and wire saws are equipped with an integrated water delivery system that continuously feeds water to the blade, reducing the amount of dust released into the air during operation. If ICS, Merit and Pentruder equipment is operated in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and complies with OSHA’s Table 1: Specified Exposure Control Methods when Working with Materials Containing Crystalline Silica,(i) Stationary Masonry Saws, employers are not required to conduct exposure assessments or comply with a PEL for those employees involved in the task*.
Specified Exposure Control Methods when working with Materials containing Crystalline Silica
Engineering and Work Practice Control Methods
|≤ 4 hrs/shift||> 4 hrs/shift|
|(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
When used indoors or in an enclosed area
|(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.
Below are several links to help you learn more about this important rule.
*credit: Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction OSHA.gov