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OSHA will begin enforcement of its crystalline silica rule on Saturday, Sept. 23.
Issued in March 2016, the rule seeks to limit exposure to silica by reducing the permitted amount of silica exposure from 250 micrograms per cubic meter over an eight-hour period to 50 micrograms.
Silica is found in many commonly used building products including concrete, mortar, bricks, blocks, rocks and stones. The use of grinders, masonry saws, jackhammers, handheld powered chipping tools, drills and other tools on these substances can expose workers to silica.
The rule contains a comprehensive list of silica exposure control methods as well as alternative exposure control methods.
Additionally, companies must:
The rule includes exemptions for procedures in which the risk of silica exposure remains low, including removing concrete formwork, mixing mortar and pouring concrete footers, slab foundation and foundation walls.
Exposure to silica can cause kidney disease, lung cancer and other respiratory conditions.
Enforcement of the rule was to begin in June but was delayed 90 days due to the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standard.
Housing First Minnesota has a series of Silica Rule-related documents available to BATC Members on BATC.org. Members with questions should contact Nick Erickson, regulatory affairs manager, for more information.
Nick Erickson, regulatory affairs manager, serves as BATC’s point of contact for the housing industry’s regulatory agencies. Follow Nick on Twitter: @nserickson