Silicosis is a debilitating and deadly respiratory disease that occurs when an employee is exposed to very small particles of silica dust over a period of many years. Silica can be found in the soil and in products made from rocks and sand, which are used in many building materials. The US Department of Labor has been studying the ill health effects of respirable silica in the workplace for more than 80 years. OSHA reduced the Permissible Exposure Level for employees performing tasks such as concrete grinding, chipping, cutting, and demolition and issued a Substance Specific Standard for Respirable Crystalline Silica in 2016.
On September 23, 2016, OSHA will begin enforcing the Standard. Is the construction industry prepared? Despite widespread efforts by OSHA, the AGC, and other industry groups and contractors to promote education and training, there are challenges ahead.
Many small contractors and subcontractors have not implemented their own silica programs. For most silica-generating tasks, a respiratory protection program is also required.
BD+C Magazine recently reported on the topic; click here to read the short article.
Check out WCSA’s Training & Events calendar for upcoming training opportunities, as well as the “Upcoming Events “footer at the bottom of this webpage for the latest classes! The next class is October 6 and is available in English and Spanish! You can also check out our silica training videos (in Spanish and English) on this website’s Resources page.