Workplace Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard Services
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) adopted a regulation regarding respirable airborne crystalline silica, effective June 23, 2016 (29 CFR 1910). Employers have a period of time, based on their industry, from that date to become compliant with most of the requirements – one year for construction; two years for general industry and maritime, and hydraulic fracturing, except engineering controls, which has five years.
Key provision of OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard
- Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift.
- Requires employers to: use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) to limit worker exposure to the PEL; provide respirators when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure; limit worker access to high exposure areas; develop a written exposure control plan; offer medical exams to highly exposed workers; and train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures.
- Provides medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers and gives them information about their lung health.
- Provides flexibility to help employers – especially small businesses – protect workers from silica exposure.
Meeting silica regulation
LVHN Occupational Medicine provides the following services to assist in meeting OSHA’s silica regulation.
The following services are needed to be compliant as well as provide baseline results. Medical surveillance requires re-testing every three years.
- Physical exam (includes patient medical history, urine dipstick and vital signs)
- Chest X-ray (one view)
- B-reader interpretation of X-ray
- Pulmonary function test
- Respiratory status questionnaire
- Respiratory medical clearance form
- Quantiferon gold TB test
Quantitative fit testing
If your employees wear respirators (other than the N95 mask), a measured, quantitative fit test is recommended. The quantitative fit test (available at HealthWorks–Bethlehem Township or as an onsite service) uses the new Quantifit device to provide a direct measurement of respirator leakage. Medical surveillance for employees who wear respirators requires fit testing to be completed annually.
For more information about LVHN Occupational Medicine services, contact HealthWorks@LVHN.org or call Scott Appnel at 610-969-2972.