What You Need to Know About OSHA Silica Standard | Kaloutas

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Have You Heard About the New OSHA Silica Standard? How Is Your Contractor Protecting You?

 Have You Heard About the New OSHA Silica Standard? How Is Your Contractor Protecting You?

What is sil­i­ca, and is your facil­i­ty at risk?

Sil­i­ca dust is a micro­scop­ic, air­borne min­er­al, and is the byprod­uct of grind­ing, cut­ting, or drilling a vari­ety of mate­ri­als you would find on a typ­i­cal con­struc­tion site. Mason­ry, con­crete, and rock, to name just a few.

Why is it so dan­ger­ous, even being called the new asbestos”?

Unlike com­mon nui­sance dust that can be fil­tered out by some­thing as sim­ple as a dust mask, sil­i­ca is an unseen dan­ger. And, once it comes into con­tact with your lungs, it can cause a host of seri­ous and irre­versible health prob­lems, including:

  • Can­cer
  • Sil­i­co­sis (scar­ring of the lungs, cre­at­ing res­pi­ra­to­ry issues)
  • Pro­gres­sive Mas­sive Fibro­sis (actu­al pet­ri­fi­ca­tion of the lung tissue)
  • Tuber­cu­lo­sis
  • Kid­ney disease
  • …and more

Here’s What You Need to Know About the OSHA Sil­i­ca Standard

Because of the increas­ing aware­ness of these mas­sive health risks (and the cas­es of sub­se­quent fatal­i­ties every year), OSHA (Occu­pa­tion­al Safe­ty and Health Admin­is­tra­tion) stepped in and cre­at­ed new stan­dards to pro­tect the work­force. One set of stan­dards is for those in the con­struc­tion indus­try, and the oth­er for those in Gen­er­al Indus­try” and Mar­itime.”

Both sets took effect on June 23, 2016, and those in the con­struc­tion indus­try had exact­ly one year to be in compliance.

There are a num­ber of key pro­vi­sions out­lined in OSHA’s stan­dards (you can review them all here). In short, the pur­pose is to reduce expo­sure to sil­i­ca on the job­site, and engi­neer con­trols that pro­tect, inform, and eval­u­ate the med­ical con­di­tion of at-risk workers.

What Safe­ty Stan­dards and Con­trols Should Your Indus­tri­al Floor­ing Con­trac­tor Implement?

For those in the com­mer­cial and indus­tri­al paint­ing and floor­ing indus­try, sil­i­ca expo­sure is a real risk. Indus­tri­al floor­ing ser­vices in par­tic­u­lar often involve cut­ting, grind­ing, and even demol­ish­ing mate­ri­als that release sil­i­ca when disturbed.

Adher­ence to the new OSHA stan­dard should be one of your contractor’s top pri­or­i­ties, both for their team’s well being and yours. An empha­sis on main­tain­ing prop­er work hygiene and invest­ing in proac­tive mea­sures must be evi­dent in their work and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, min­i­miz­ing and pre­vent­ing risks before they have the chance to develop.

Does your con­trac­tor meet this criteria?

  • Com­pletes med­ical eval­u­a­tions of their crew to ensure that they are capa­ble of wear­ing a res­pi­ra­tor. Res­pi­ra­tor fit tests are also con­duct­ed to con­firm that a prop­er seal is in place.
  • Res­pi­ra­tors should progress from half-mask to full-mask with a pos­i­tive air­flow for the most protection.
  • Are vac­u­ums with mul­ti-stage fil­tra­tion sys­tems being used? Remem­ber, pre-fil­ter removes larg­er debris, mid-fil­ter removes fine par­ti­cles, and HEPA fil­ters remove ultra-fine par­ti­cles. All of our indus­tri­al floor­ing vac­u­ums are equipped with the HEPA fil­tra­tion attachment.
  • Writ­ten expo­sure con­trol plans should be pro­vid­ed, artic­u­lat­ing the sys­tems that are put in place to pro­tect the envi­ron­ment for the sake of every­one involved.
  • A focus on ongo­ing edu­ca­tion, train­ing, and prepa­ra­tion is essen­tial. Safe­ty is a team sport, and your con­trac­tor should pro­vide not only cut­ting-edge equip­ment, but also the knowl­edge need­ed to pro­tect you and each other.

Can Your Con­trac­tor Knowl­edge­ably Explain the OSHA Sil­i­ca Stan­dard, and How They’re Pro­tect­ing Those In Your Facility?

These stan­dards are absolute­ly nec­es­sary; main­tain­ing a safe work­site is a moral (and legal) obligation.

Should you have any fur­ther ques­tions, we encour­age you to reach out to us at Kaloutas. It would be our plea­sure to dis­cuss your project goals (and con­cerns) here in New England.

Oth­er Ser­vices Kaloutas Cus­tomers Are Search­ing for Include:

Kaloutas is New Eng­land’s pre­mier con­trac­tor for com­mer­cial & indus­tri­al paint­ing, floor­ing, and relat­ed ser­vices. Estab­lished in 1987, Kaloutas has become a trust­ed resource for gen­er­al con­trac­tors, facil­i­ties man­agers, and build­ing own­ers from Con­necti­cut to Maine. Our team prides itself on high qual­i­ty work­man­ship, jobs done on time & bud­get, and tack­ling com­plex projects that oth­er con­trac­tors don’t have the expe­ri­ence or resources to han­dle. Con­tact us today for a paint­ing or floor­ing esti­mate, or give us a call at 9785321414 to learn more.

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