Many construction workers who have been over exposed to silica dust developed lung cancer, silicosis as well as pulmonary and kidney disease. The danger of exposure to silica dust was first highlighted by the US government in 1930 but the first rule related to silica exposure time was released in 1971 when OSHA was created. The 1971 rule is outdated and recent waves of illnesses and deaths among construction workers have led to the creations of new OSHA standards. A final rule was issued by OSHA two months ago on March 25. The rule contains two standards: one for the construction industry and one for the maritime and general industry. OSHA estimates that every year the new standards will save 600 lives and prevent 900 workers from getting silicosis. The standards will take effect on June 23, 2016. From that date, the construction industry will have one year to comply with OSHA requirements.
To help contractors and construction workers understand and comply with the new standard, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) just hosted a webinar on “Understanding & Implementing the New Construction Silica Standard”. In this webinar,OSHA’s Director of Standards & Guidance, David O’connor, presented the key provisions in the new standard. A free planning tool was also presented to participants. CPWR Deputy Director, Chris Trahan and CPWR r2p Director, Eileen Betit explained to participants how to make the best use of this planning tool. A recording of the webinar can be found here.
Additionally, at the request of many who could not attend the first webinar, another live webinar session will take place on Thursday June 16th at 2;00 pm Eastern Time. The same speakers, David O’Connor, OSHA’s Director of Standards & Guidance , Chris Trahan, CPWR Deputy Director and Eileen Betit, CPWR r2p Director will discuss the new standard for the construction industry and best way to implement it. The webinar is free and aimed at contractors in the construction industry but anyone interested can attend. If you wish to participate you can register here.
The picture (courtesy of Wikipedia) shows a slice of a lung affected by silicosis