Turner Access Higher Safety Total Access
Total Access Ethentic Chipmunk Data
Chipmunk Data Turner Access Ethentic

SILICA (RCS) DUST LIMIT – THE ONLY WAY IS DOWN?

US regulator cuts RCS exposure standard to half UK limit

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued what it describes as “a final rule to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America’s workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS)”.

The rule is comprised of two standards, one for Construction and one for General Industry and Maritime.

OSHA estimates that the rule will save over 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year, once its effects are fully realised. The Final Rule is projected to provide net benefits of about $7.7 billion, annually.

In the US some 2.3 million workers are exposed to RCS in the workplace, including 2 million construction workers who drill, cut, crush, or grind silica-containing materials such as concrete and stone.

In addition, there are 300,000 workers in general industry operations such as brick manufacturing, foundries, and hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.

Key Provisions

The OSHA changes include:

  • Exposure Limit Reduced – the permissible exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica is reduced to 0.05 mg per cubic metre of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift.

This new US limit is half the UK limit set at 0.1 mg per cubic metre.

  • Comprehensive Control Measures – where RCS cannot be eliminated a suite of control measures are required including: water or ventilation systems to limit worker exposure; RPE when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure; limited worker access to high exposure areas; written exposure control plans, medical examinations and worker training.
Comment

This new US limit has been planned for a number of years. The change comes at a time when the Health and Safety Executive has placed RCS at the centre of its Construction Sector Priorities.

The reduced US exposure limit is likely to increase pressure to reduce the RCS exposure limit in the UK.

Meanwhile, clients, designers and contractors in the UK would be advised to concentrate fully on eliminating, reducing or controlling exposure to RCS on all construction projects.

 

OSHA has provided the following background information:

“The U.S. Department of Labor first highlighted the hazards of respirable crystalline silica in the 1930s, after a wave of worker deaths.

The department set standards to limit worker exposure in 1971, when OSHA was created. However, the standards are outdated and do not adequately protect workers from silica-related diseases. Furthermore, workers are being exposed to silica in new industries such as stone or artificial stone countertop fabrication and hydraulic fracturing.

A full review of scientific evidence, industry consensus standards, and extensive stakeholder input provide the basis for the final rule, which was proposed in September 2013. The rule-making process allowed OSHA to solicit input in various forms for nearly a full year.

The agency held 14 days of public hearings, during which more than 200 stakeholders presented testimony, and accepted over 2,000 comments, amounting to about 34,000 pages of material. In response to this extensive public engagement, OSHA made substantial changes, including enhanced employer flexibility in choosing how to reduce levels of respirable crystalline silica, while maintaining or improving worker protection.”

Latest Construction Health and Safety News

LORRY SHEETING ARRANGEMENTS PROVED FATAL

Driver fell 4m to death during unsafe un-sheeting of lorry

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 16th November 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 15th NOV 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 16th November 2017

NEW CPA GUIDANCE ON FORWARD TIPPING DUMPERS

Industry aims to help prevent overturns and collision with workers

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 13th November 2017

DEMOLITION WORKER LOST BALANCE IN FATAL FALL

Lack of measures in place to prevent fall from mezzanine floor

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 13th November 2017

GROUNDWORKER SET ON FIRE BY CABLE STRIKE

RAMS requirement for underground service checks not followed

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 13th November 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 8th NOV 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 9th November 2017

RARE SUPPLIER PROSECUTION OVER FATAL CRUSHING

Vehicle manufacturer design and unsafe user practice caused death

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 9th November 2017

ASBESTOS SURVEY FAILED TO COVER ALL WORK AREAS

Utilities firm fined after electricians exposed to drilled asbestos

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 8th November 2017

METAL GRID FELL FROM FLT DURING PAINTING

Steel fabricator could have used sling to safely suspend grids

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 7th November 2017

DRIVER ESCAPES WITH LIFE AFTER POWER STRIKE

Director given suspended sentence over lorry 132kV line contact

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 7th November 2017

SCAFFOLDER FELL ON TEMPORARY ROOF WORKS

Injured workman lacked training and fall arrest equipment

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 7th November 2017

FALLING CONTROL PANEL CRUSHED WORKMAN

Planning lacking on how to safely move heavy electrical equipment

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 7th November 2017

POWER DOOR INSTALLER JAILED FOR THREE YEARS

Falling electrically powered gate claimed life of resident

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 3rd November 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 2nd NOV 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 2nd November 2017

STEEL FIRM REMOVED BAND SAW SAFETY GUARD

Leg of worker crushed in the vice of an industrial band saw

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 2nd November 2017

WORKMAN FELL AFTER RAIL REMOVED FOR ACCESS

Small builder failed to allow for missing guard-rail

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 2nd November 2017

FINES RISE RAPIDLY ALONGSIDE HARM TO HEALTH

hselogo1HSE confirm lowest number of construction fatalities on record

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 2nd November 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE OCT 25th 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 25th October 2017

GIRDERS FELL DURING UNSAFE USE OF DEMO PLANT

Workman crushed and trapped by steel moved by company MD

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 25th October 2017

FRAGILE ROOFLIGHT HAZARD LEFT UNCONTROLLED

Principal Contractor failed ensure covers or effective scaffolding installed

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 25th October 2017

WORKING PLATFORM FELL FROM TELEHANDLER

Manufacturer instructions for safe platform attachment not followed

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 25th October 2017

MAJOR CONTRACTOR FINED £640K OVER CO RISK

Simple marking required to control carbon monoxide gas

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 23rd October 2017

PRISON TERM FOR SOLE TRADER CONTRACTOR

Small contractor pays the price for failing to manage work at height hazards

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 19th October 2017

WORKMAN FELL THROUGH ROOF OPENING

Waterproof membrane concealed conservatory roof hazard

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 19th October 2017

HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 18th OCT 2017

hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices weekly update and analysis

Read the rest of this article »

Posted on 19th October 2017
Turner Access Chipmunk Data
Total Access Ethentic
Higher Safety Turner Access