Originally set to be enforced on June 23, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration new rule regarding silica dust exposure limits has been delayed an additional 90 days, to September 23, 2017. Many construction industry groups were upset by the new rule, as they deemed it “technologically and economically infeasible, but also unnecessary.”
Construction workers mostly come into contact with silica dust when cutting concrete, stone, and brick masonry. The inhalation of silica dust can cause many health risks, including lung cancer, silicosis, COPD, and kidney disease.
When finally put into effect, the new silica rules will mark the first time the standard has been updated since 1971. The final rule will reduce the exposure limits to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, which is 5 times less than the previous allowable limit. To limit exposure to workers, employers will be responsible for implementing stronger engineering controls and/or PPE.
OSHA announced the delay in the enforcement of the rule on April 6, in a press release. In it, the organization states that “The agency has determined that additional guidance is necessary due to the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standard. Originally scheduled to begin June 23, 2017, enforcement will now begin Sept. 23, 2017.
OSHA expects employers in the construction industry to continue to take steps either to come into compliance with the new permissible exposure limit, or to implement specific dust controls for certain operations as provided in Table 1 of the standard. Construction employers should also continue to prepare to implement the standard's other requirements, including exposure assessment, medical surveillance and employee training.”
In a recent press release, OSHA announced that it has implemented a new OSHA Weighting System (OWS) for their 2020 fiscal year. The change will better help OSHA allocate their resources where needed.
Hard hats are staples of the construction jobsite and required by OSHA wherever there is possible danger of head injury from falling objects, impact, or electrical shock (OSHA 29 CFR 1926.100). A common trend that has continued for years is the preference of many hard hat wearers to “reverse” the helmet’s configuration and face the brim to the back. But, is that allowed by OSHA?
If you have a safety meeting or perform an inspection and you can’t find any documentation of it, did it ever really happen? Well, sure it did, but it definitely helps to keep proper records for things as important as safety for reference later on or to prove to a government agency like OSHA that your company is being proactive. One way to keep proper records is to use an app, and Safesite has just made that easier as they now offer a free version of their inspection platform.
At the National Safety Council Congress & Expo on September 10, 2019, OSHA’s deputy director of Directorate of Enforcement Programs, Patrick Kapust, announced their preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety violations for their fiscal year 2019.
It’s no secret that the construction workforce is dominated by men, but women are slowly increasing their numbers in recent years as gender barriers continue to be knocked down. With construction jobs expected to continue to grow over the next few years, women will play a significant role in filling job openings.
Construction employers are legally responsible for following and enforcing safety regulations on their jobsites. If caught not abiding by these rules and failing to keep workers safe, an OSHA violation and fine can follow. Recently, however, several contractors are also facing criminal charges following employee deaths on their jobsites.
After causing devastation in the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian worked its way up the U.S. East Coast last week and eventually made its way up to Nova Scotia, Canada as a Category 2 storm. The storm left more than 369,000 without power in the Canadian Region, according to CBC, but also caused a tower crane to buckle and collapse in the city of Halifax.
A 2018 trench collapse in Colorado lead to the death of a construction worker named Rosario “Chayo” Martinez-Lopez. Now, his employer faces manslaughter charges for his death.
Drones have been heavily used by the construction industry in recent years for anything from progress photos, to employee tracking, or calculating the volume of on-site stockpiles. Now, a report from EHS Today says that OSHA plans to employ more drones to conduct site inspections of employer facilities.
Last fall, OSHA announced its intentions to explore updating the 2016 silica dust regulations that seemingly took the construction by storm. Their intent was to gain feedback on additional dust control methods that would be suitable for hazard control, as well as on additional tasks and equipment not currently covered by Table 1 in 29 CFR 1926.1153. Last week, they announced the next step they’re taking towards revisions.