• Total Access Total Access Ethentic Ethentic
    Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data

    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

    HSE ENFORCEMENT WEEKLY UPDATE 13th JUNE 2018

    hselogo1Prosecutions and enforcement notices register latest version

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 13th June 2018

    DIRECTOR FAILED COMPLY WITH HSE PROHIBITION

    Precautions not taken to prevent excavation collapse and falling

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 11th June 2018

    SCAFFOLD NOT TO INDUSTRY STANDARD OR DESIGN

    Specialist and contractor in court over unsafe work at height

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 7th June 2018

    ROAD WORKER RUN OVER BY ROAD ROLLER

    Reversing alarm not working and warning light not fitted

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 5th June 2018

    CLIENT AND SURVEYOR FINED OVER ASBESTOS SURVEY

    Refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey proved inadequate

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 5th June 2018

    FATALITY: ROAD WORKER DRAGGED ALONG ROAD

    Night shift worker loses life when struck by road sweeping vehicle

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 3rd June 2018

    CDM PRINCIPAL DESIGNERS AVOID HSE ENFORCEMENT

    Regulator enforcement database reveals few notices involve CDM PDs

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 3rd June 2018

    PROPERTY MANAGERS FINED WITH CONTRACTOR

    Defendants failed to check for asbestos during soffit replacement works

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 29th May 2018

    EXCAVATION CAUSED RETAINING WALL COLLAPSE

    Precautions not taken to secure stability of free-standing wall

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 29th May 2018

    OVERHEAD CABLE STRIKE FIRM FINED £500,000+

    Inadequate system caused risk of harm despite lack of worker injury

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 29th May 2018

    CDM 2015 PRINCIPAL DESIGNER FINED OVER FIRE RISK

    PD and PC failed to comply with CDM 2015 responsibilities

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 23rd May 2018

    SENTENCING GUIDELINES UNDER THE MICROSCOPE

    Lawyer argues guidelines undermine reduction in ‘regulatory burden’

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 23rd May 2018

    PANEL STRUCK WORKMAN DURING LIFTING OPERATION

    Third party contractor falls victim of poor lift planning

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 21st May 2018

    DIRECTOR LED HAZARDOUS WORK AT HEIGHT

    Three occasions when work lacked suitable and sufficient precautions

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 21st May 2018

    RISK ASSESSED BUT CONTROLS FOUND WANTING

    Joiner fell through unprotected opening on roof of new building

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 21st May 2018

    RIBA CRITICAL OF HACKITT REVIEW FINAL REPORT

    High rise residential review dismissed as “major missed opportunity”

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 21st May 2018

    CONSTRUCTION SECTOR DEATHS: THE ‘BIG THREE’

    HSE in-year fatalities for 2017/18 may indicate upward trend

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 16th May 2018

    SCAFFOLDING SITE ACCIDENTS AT RECORD LOW

    NASC Annual Report reveals all time low in 2017 incidents

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th May 2018

    DUMPER TRUCK HAND-BRAKE NOT MAINTAINED

    Workman injured when pinned against stack of concrete blocks

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th May 2018

    SPARE POWER INTERLOCK KEY CAUSED DEATH

    Dangerous machinery safety precautions defeated for maintenance tasks

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 10th May 2018

    COLLAPSED CAR PARK WAS UNDER REPAIR

    Rusted steel supports triggered collapse of fascia and floor

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 8th May 2018

    DUMPER OVERTURN CAUSED FATAL INJURIES

    Precautions during spoil heap creation were inadequate

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 8th May 2018

    HARDWOOD DUST CONTROL NOT MAINTAINED

    Manufacturer failed to examine and test local extraction system

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 8th May 2018

    SCAFFOLD CONTRACTOR OVERLOOKED MAJOR HAZARD

    Well-known risk unidentified during scaffold erection project

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 8th May 2018

    THREE FIRMS FINED £1/2M FOR FRAGILE RISK FAILURES

    Fall through rooflight hazard poorly planned and managed

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 2nd May 2018
    Total Access Total Access Ethentic Ethentic
    Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data