OSHA’s medical surveillance requirements for employees exposed to respirable crystalline silica have been in effect since June 2018. Soon, they’re about to get even more strict. Effective June 23, 2020, employers will be required to assess exposures for employees who will be occupationally exposed to respirable crystalline silica, at or above the action level (AL) for 30 or more days per year. So, how big of a deal is that? The current permissible exposure limit (PEL) is 50 μg/m(measured as an 8-hour time-weighted average). In real terms, one single paver cut releases enough silica dust to hit to exceed that limit for over 10,714 days. Now, cut that number in half, and you’ll get the AL — 25 μg/m3 — which is what OSHA will use for inspections starting in June. What does this change mean for employers subject to general industry and maritime OSHA standards? It means more employers will now be required to make medical surveillance available at no cost, and at a reasonable time and place, to any employee whose exposure to respirable crystalline silica reaches 25 μg/m3 as an 8-hour time-weighted average for 30 or more days per year.

 

 

CC0 License, Pixabay

Read more…