Time is up…Silica standards obligations begin on June 23, 2018

There are about 676,000 workplaces that are being affected by the recent final OSHA silica standard to reduce lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, silicosis, and kidney disease that are among the 2.3 million workers that have been exposed to respirable crystalline silica.  

This new rule comprises two standards, one for Construction and one for General Industry and Maritime. It lowers permissible exposure limits (PELs), mandates control measures, worker training, and includes a written control plan.

With this new rule, employers must provide medical exams to monitor workers with high exposure and provide them with the information about their lung health. A chest X-Ray read by a NIOSH certified B-reader will check for exposure. Furthermore, a B reading should be made part of a part of the full medical exam for people who work industries with silica exposure.

Are you aware of compliance deadlines?

Silica standards obligations begin on June 23, 2018, for employees who will be occupationally exposed to respirable crystalline silica above the PEL for 30 or more days per year.  Obligations start June 23, 2020, for employees who will be occupationally exposed to respirable crystalline silica at or above the action level for 30 or more days per year.

What is a B reader?

A B Reader is a physician certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as demonstrating proficiency in classifying radiographs of the pneumoconioses.

Why should I care about B Readers?

A new study recently uncovered a startling number of black lung cases in Coal Miners. Black Lung or Black Lung Disease is also known as Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP). Most commonly found in coal miners, this disease is caused from prolonged exposure to coal dust. CWP is similar to silicosis caused from inhaling silica dust and to long-term effects of tobacco smoking.

The largest cluster of advanced black lung disease has recently been reported. NIOSH confirms 416 cases, in three clinics in central Appalachia from 2013 – 2017, of complicated black lung or progressive massive fibrosis. These conditions have progressed from nearly eradicated in the mid-1990s to the highest concentration of cases that have ever been seen.

Are you missing out on an additional revenue stream?

As mandated by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, the Coal Workers’ X-Ray Surveillance Program, provides the need to classify chest radiographs of coal workers. Do you have the skills to classify chest radiographs of asbestos-exposed workers as governed by the U.S. Department of Labor regulations? Are you involved in classifying chest radiographs for medical screening, surveillance, research, or compensation programs?

Do you have B Read capability?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, there are currently about 300 B Readers. A knowledgeable team of NIOSH certified B Readers are standing by at Premier to provide you expert reviews of chest radiographs for the presence of occupational lung disease. Call us today to see how we can help!


Specifics of the Standards from the United States Department of Labor