It’s been almost a full year since OSHA’s more stringent regulations regarded respirable crystalline silica dust officially became enforceable. Even though the topic has been a staple in news outlets since before and after September 23, 2017 (the official enforcement date), there is still plenty of confusion across the industry.
To help contractors comply with the new regulations, OSHA has recently announced a few new resources to be used for training. Among them are a customizable PowerPoint Presentation (pdf download link), an FAQ page, and several short videos. Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) reported that the FAQ page, which contains 53 frequently asked questions and their answers, was directly linked to a lawsuit filed by several construction industry groups, including ABC.
The videos are a combination of one OSHA produced overview video and several others that were produced by ERG and are specific to a task or piece of equipment. You will find each of those videos embedded below. More information can be found on OSHA’s Silica for Construction home page.
Protecting Workers from Silica Hazards in the Workplace Video
Handheld Power Saws (any blade diameter)
Masonry Table Saw
Handheld and Stand-Mounted Drills
Handheld Grinders for Mortar Removal (e.g., tuckpointing)
Handheld grinders for uses other than mortar removal
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of 3 different drills manufactured by Black & Decker due to safety concerns.
Just over a year ago, in September of 2017, Hurricane Irma blew through Miami, Florida, bringing extremely high speed wind with it. The wind caused 3 cranes to collapse in southern Florida, 2 in downtown Miami and 1 more in Ft. Lauderdale. Interesting video of the dismantling of one of the failed cranes was shared on Youtube.
In September of 2017, OSHA’s new standard on exposure to respirable crystalline silica went into effect in the construction industry. The rule lowered the allowable exposure to the harmful substance to 50 micrograms per cubic meter, a measurement that we’re all familiar with [/sarcasm]. After a full year of enforcement, OSHA is considering making a change to the rule.
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Last week, we shared some newly updated Trenching and Excavation safety information from OSHA, which was part of their priority goals for 2018. Those updates included a public service announcement and updated online resources. The administration has just announced the update of their National Emphasis Program (NEP) on trenching and excavation safety, which features a period of education and prevention outreach.
Earlier this year, it was announced that reducing injuries and deaths caused by trenching and excavation collapses would be a priority goal for OSHA in 2018. The administration planned to achieve this through increased inspection rates, public service announcements (PSA), updating online resources, and creating a better public-private partnership. Recently, OSHA made good on their promise to issue PSAs and update their online resources.
In a time where many industry groups are strongly fighting against new regulations of any kind, more than 130 organizations have co-signed a petition for OSHA to establish a national standard for heat protection across many industries.
As other organizations, like the NTSB, are busy analyzing the root cause of the pedestrian bridge collapse that killed 6 people and injured 8 others in Florida in March, OSHA has finished their investigation and issued safety violations to 5 different contractors.