• 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

    BULK BAG COLLAPSE CAUSED BY UNSAFE STACKING

    Bulk bag collapsed onto workman when struck by fork lift

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 9th December 2019

    INTERLOCKED GUARD NOT WORKING TO ISOLATE POWER

    Two workmen seriously injured when plant started unexpectedly

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 9th December 2019

    STREET FURNITURE RISK TO PUBLIC FINED £1.4M

    Council prosecuted following injury to child playing on hinged bollard

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 9th December 2019

    WORKMEN SUFFER SERIOUS BURNS FROM CABLE STRIKE

    Assessment and system of work failed to appreciate electrical risk

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 29th November 2019

    LADDERS WERE INAPPROPRIATE FOR WORK ON ROOF

    Workman paralysed after falling whilst installing roof ladder

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 28th November 2019

    FIRM FAILED TO MANAGE EXHAUST VENTILATION

    HSE enforcement notices on wood dust and welding fume ignored

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 27th November 2019

    RECALCITRANT DIRECTOR BARRED FROM OFFICE

    Dangerous telehandler used despite earlier fatality and enforcement

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 25th November 2019

    DIRECTOR HID UNSAFE WORKING PRACTICES FROM HSE

    Workers exposed to sprayed paints containing asthma causing isocyantes

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 25th November 2019

    JAIL TERM FOR CONTRACTOR CAUSING GAS RISK

    Roofer sentenced after work caused carbon monoxide release

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 22nd November 2019

    UNSTABLE STAIRCASE COLLAPSE DURING REFURB WORK

    Workman not informed of staircase hazard suffered serious injury

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 22nd November 2019

    UNUSED SEAT BELT WAS “COMMON PRACTICE” ON SITE

    Overturning dumper truck caused death of operators at spoil heap

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 22nd November 2019

    SELECTED NEWS POSTED RECENTLY ON TWITTER

    PP Construction Safety logo and link to home page [1]Links to other construction health and safety related news reports

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th November 2019

    HSE LOOK TO LOCAL AUTHORITIES FOR CDM SUPPORT

    Council Inspectors focus on CDM client duties – asbestos, fragility and RCS

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th November 2019

    VERBAL WARNING OF DANGER IS NO DEFENCE

    Hand of female worker entangled in modified metal drilling rig

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th November 2019

    UNDERGROUND CABLE STRIKE CAUSES 50% BURNS

    Workman seriously injured using hand-held breaker to excavate post holes

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th November 2019

    HSE WELDING FUME REVISED GUIDANCE PUBLISHED

    New research evidence on cancer link prompts revision on welding fume

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th November 2019

    VIBRATION MANAGEMENT FAILINGS FINED £600,000

    Vital health surveillance, tool replacement and management found wanting

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 14th November 2019

    HSE ENFORCEMENT DATABASE LATEST UPDATE

    hselogo1View current online register of HSE prosecutions and enforcement notices

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 31st October 2019

    DEVELOPER AND DIRECTOR PUT PUBLIC AT RISK

    Demolition undertaken without surveys and effective safety precautions

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 28th October 2019

    BY-PASSING MACHINE INTERLOCK FINED £1.275 MILLION

    Trapped key safety system failed to prevent access to conveyor danger

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 24th October 2019

    HSE LOSES PATIENCE WITH ERRANT CONTRACTOR

    Roofing firm fined £30,000 over failure to manage work at height risks

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 24th October 2019

    TRUSS ERECTION LACKED INTERNAL FALL PROTECTION

    Carpenter fell and injured whilst falling with roof truss

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 24th October 2019

    WORKMAN FELL HEAD FIRST THROUGH ROOFLIGHT

    Fragile roof dangers not assessed and properly controlled

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 24th October 2019

    STRUCTURAL SAFETY BODY LATEST NEWSLETTER

    CROSS publishes reports and expert comment on a range of issues

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th October 2019

    HSE RISK REDUCTION THROUGH DESIGN AWARD

    Regulator seeks to promote hazard avoidance and risk minimisation

    Read the rest of this article »

    Posted on 18th October 2019
  • Higher Safety Higher Safety Chipmunk Data Chipmunk Data