Osha Regulations for Silica Dust
What is Silica Dust?
Silica is a common mineral, often referred to as quartz, is found in many materials common on construction and oil and gas sites, including rock, granite, concrete, soil, sand, masonry and landscaping materials. Cutting, sanding, grinding, or drilling these materials can produce dust that contain crystalline silica particles. These dust particles are so small they cannot be seen and causes lung disease and lung cancer from breathing in the containment.
What Does OSHA Require?
Recognizing that very small, respirable silica particles are hazardous, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation 29 CFR 1926.1153 requires construction employers to keep worker exposures at or below a Permissible Exposure Level (PEL) of 50 µg/m3.
- Determine the amount of silica that workers are exposed to
- Protect workers from respirable crystalline silica exposures
- Limit access to exposure area
- Use dust control and safer work methods
- Provide Respirators
- Establish and implement a written exposure control plan
- Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica
- Offer Medical Exams
- Train workers on the health effects of silica
- Keep records of workers’ silica exposure
How to Control Silica Dust?
The choice of vacuum cleaner or dust collector depends on the task. It must be carefully selected to include features such as the following:
- Sufficient flow rate to capture the dust and transport it to the vacuum/collector source
- Uses a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to reduce the chance of releasing dust containing crystalline silica from the vacuum/collector into the worksite
- Uses pre-filter or cyclone to increase the length of service of the HEPA filter
- Uses filter replacement indicator
- Filters can be cleaned and replaced or full collection bowls or bags can be replaced without exposing the operators to dust
Industrial Air Solutions has helped clients stay OSHA compliant for decades. Our extensive line of systems will eliminate exposure and protect workers from life altering illnesses. Contact us today for a solution!