How to Comply with the OSHA Silica Standard

November 11 2020

Construction worker in yellow hard hat produces silica dust with a jackhammer

The OSHA silica standard is designed to protect workers from health issues caused by prolonged exposure to respirable crystalline silica. Employers should inform their workers of the dangers of silica dust exposure and take proper measures to prevent it.

ScrubberShop is dedicated to your business’s success. We’ve created an OSHA silica compliance guide to help. Not only will this information protect your workers, but it will also save you from expensive OSHA fines.

Violating the OSHA silica standard can cost over $120,000. Keep money in your pocket and keep your employees at work by following regulations.

We’re here to ensure the safety and functionality of your operation. Learn more about silica dust and how to minimize its presence at your workplace. Follow our OSHA silica compliance guide to keep your business operating smoothly.

What is Silica Dust?

Silica, commonly known in the form of quartz, is a mineral. Drilling, grinding, or otherwise aggravating this mineral produces silica dust. These tiny dust particles are known as “respirable” particles because they can travel deep into the lungs and create lifelong damage.

Breathing in these minuscule silica dust particles can cause silicosis, an incurable lung disease. Silica dust exposure can also lead to lung cancer and other potentially deadly respiratory diseases.

Unfortunately, silica is found in common materials like soil, concrete, granite, rock, and sand. Because of this, workers employed at construction, oil, and gas sites deal with frequent silica dust exposure.

Construction workers risk silica dust exposure during common industry tasks like the operation of masonry saws, jackhammers, vehicle-mounted drilling rigs, and much more. There are dozens of industrial projects that involve abrasive, dust-producing tasks.

The OSHA silica standard protects workers during these operations. Learn more about OSHA’s regulations for limiting silica dust exposure below.

OSHA Silica Compliance Guide

The OSHA silica standard requires employers to take steps to minimize worker exposure. Use this OSHA silica compliance guide to operate within regulations:

1. Measure Silica Dust Exposure

First, determine the amount of silica dust at your workplace. A sampling cyclone can help you do this.

This device attaches to workers’ shirts, then draws air from its environment. A certified specialist should perform this test to determine whether your workplace exceeds silica dust OSHA levels.

2. Understand Silica Dust OSHA Regulations

The Permissible Exposure Level (PEL) for silica dust is 50 µg/m3. That means no one should be exposed to more than 50 micrograms of silica per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour workday. OSHA dust control requires that exposure levels stay below this number.

3. Implement OSHA Dust Control Methods

If dust exposure levels exceed the previously mentioned PEL, implement measures to limit exposure. Start by creating a preventative OSHA dust control protocol. Your silica dust OSHA plan should identify which tasks result in high exposure and outline methods to protect workers.

This will include restricting access to high exposure areas. Choose someone to implement this written OSHA silica compliance guide. Provide your employees with respirators whenever other OSHA dust control methods cannot limit exposure. Offer appropriate medical exams every three years to workers who wear a respirator for 30 or more days each year.

If you work indoors or in enclosed areas, it is especially important to manage dust exposure. Investing in an OSHA-compliant industrial floor scrubber or sweeper is a great way to minimize respirable dust and crystalline silica.

Industrial floor scrubber used in warehouse to eliminate dust

Industrial Floor Scrubbers

Regularly cleaning with a floor scrubber or sweeper is key to following silica dust OSHA regulations. Proper industrial floor cleaning equipment helps eliminate minuscule debris. This protects your workers, your visitors, and even your flooring.

Looking for equipment that will get the job done? Turn to ScrubberShop. We carry the largest selection of industrial scrubbers and sweepers for sale nationwide. We also offer upfront pricing and every item in our inventory.

That means you can compare your options before you commit. Save time finding the best deal on floor cleaning equipment. Browse machines from industry-leading manufacturers today.

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