What is Silica and how can one be at risk of health effects?
Silica is a naturally occurring mineral found in sand, concrete, stone, mortar, glass, pottery, ceramics, brick, and artificial stone. About 2.3 million workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica, which can lead to silicosis (lung disease), lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease.
Why does this matter?
The new silica rule requires employers to use engineering controls such as ventilation and wet methods for cutting and sawing materials containing crystalline silica in order to keep exposures at or below the preliminary exposure limit, or PEL of 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air.
As of June 23, 2018, when the rule was put in full effect, OSHA expects it to prevent 600 deaths per year and 900 cases of silicosis per year. To ensure the preventable ailments, OSHA requires employers to offer medical examinations to employees exposed at or above the action level for 30 or more days a year. Premier provides B-reading services to ensure you are adhering to these new strict guidelines so you can protect your bottom line.
What about the OSHA Penalties?
OSHA recently raised their maximum penalty amounts, which went into effect January 23, 2019. Any violations in the new silica rule will result in one of the new penalty amounts issued by OSHA.
What are the OSHA violation penalties?
- $13,260 for violation of serious or other-than-serious posting requirements
- $13,260 per day for failure to abate or failure to fix or improve beyond the initial abatement date
- $132,598 for willful or repeat violations
OSHA offers resources for employers looking for compliance assistance should you be in search of it. Making sure employees are well looked after should be an employer’s highest priority.
For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov/penalties/