OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica standard for construction requires employers to limit worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica and to take other steps to protect workers. The standard provides flexible alternatives. Employers can either use the control methods laid out in Table 1 of the construction standard, or they can measure workers’ exposure to silica and independently decide which dust controls work best to limit exposures to the PEL in their workplaces.
Regardless of which exposure control method is used, all construction employers covered by the standard are required to:
- Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers, including procedures to restrict access to work areas where high exposures may occur.
- Designate a competent person to implement the written exposure control plan.
- Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica where feasible alternatives are available.
- Offer medical exams-including chest X-rays and lung function tests-every three years for workers who are required by the standard to wear a respirator for 30 or more days per year.
- Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure.
- Keep records of exposure measurements, objective data and medical exams.
Compliance date for all requirements of the standard is September 23, 2017, except requirements for laboratory evaluation of exposure samples, which begin on June 23, 2018.
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Construction Outreach Materials
Controlling Silica Dust in Construction Fact Sheets for Table 1 Tasks
Handheld Power Saws Fact Sheet
Handheld Grinders for Tasks Other Than Mortar Removal Fact Sheet
Handheld Power Saws Used to Cut Fiber-Cement Board
Jackhammers or Handheld Powered Chipping Tools Fact Sheet
Handheld and Stand-Mounted Drills Fact Sheet
Stationary Masonry Saws Fact Sheet
Handheld Grinders for Mortar Removal (Tuckpointing) Fact Sheet
Walk-Behind Saws Fact Sheet
Drivable Saws Fact Sheet
Rig-Mounted Core Saws or Drills Fact Sheet
Dowel Drilling Rigs for Concrete Fact Sheet
Vehicle-Mounted Drilling Rigs for Rock and Concrete Fact Sheet
Walk-Behind Milling Machines and Floor Grinders Fact Sheet
Small Drivable Milling Machines (Less than Half Lane) Fact Sheet
Large Drivable Milling Machines (Half Lane and Larger) Fact Sheet
Crushing Machines Fact Sheet
Heavy Equipment and Utility Vehicles Used During Demolition Activities Fact Sheet
Heavy Equipment and Utility Vehicles Used for Grading and Excavating Tasks Fact Sheet