January 1, 2016

OSHA's New Rule: Crystalline Silica

Top 10 ways to manage crystalline silica exposure

What in the world is crystalline silica? Believe it or not, it's one of the most common minerals on our planet, found in sand, stone, rock, concrete, brick, block and mortar. Even though it can only be spotted on a microscope, it's responsible for causing silicosis, a debilitating and sometimes fatal lung disease. We're expecting a new rule from OSHA in early 2016 that intends to save lives and prevent hundreds of new cases of silicosis every year.

If your workplace is dusty or your employees work with materials that produce dust, you need to know how to keep crystalline silica exposure in check. Not sure where to start? Here are our top 10 suggestions:

  1. Use substitute materials that don’t contain crystalline silica.
  2. Use dust-containment systems.
  3. Work wet, using wet drilling or sawing to control dust.
  4. Ventilate.
  5. Use personal protective equipment, such as respirators, when necessary.
  6. Monitor the air and workers’ health.
  7. Require good personal hygiene.
  8. Train workers on the risks and ways to mitigate them.
  9. Communicate, using product labels and safety data sheets.
  10. Post signs that clearly communicate warnings and specify required protective gear.

Questions? Contact Safety On Call at safetyoncall@pinnacol.com.