Homepage    Occupational Health    OSHA delivers final rule on Silica Exposure

OSHA delivers final rule on Silica Exposure

By / April 12, 2016 / / 0 Comments

Emergency One reviews medical surveillance associated with OSHA silica exposure ruling



On March 25, 2016, OSHA published its long-awaited final ruling on the standards for respirable crystalline silica. There’s mixed reaction to the standard. One thing for sure, in order to comply, businesses will need increased monitoring and medical surveillance. Some say that the expectations are not reasonable while others say it’s long overdue.


Here’s the highlights of the 1,772 page document:

  • Reduces the permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour shift.
  • Requirement to use engineering controls and work practices to limit worker exposure.
  • Provides a table of specific controls construction and other small employers can follow to be in compliance.
  • Staggers compliance dates to give employers sufficient time to meet requirements.

One of the big questions is, “Does the new Silica Rule Affect Me?”

If your employees are exposed to sand or dust, it might apply. The industries affected by this ruling include, construction, glass products, pottery products, concrete products, foundries, dental labs, paintings and coating, jewelry production, refractory products, refractory installation and repair, ready-mix concrete, cut stone and stone products, railroad maintenance, hydraulic fracturing for gas and ail, abrasive blasting and structural clay products.

At Emergency One, we can work with you to develop a medical surveillance program if your employees are exposed to levels above the permissible exposure limit. The rule specifies that medical surveillance is required if the employee is exposed for 30 or more days per year.

Employers must schedule initial exams within 30 days after initial assignment if they have not already had a compliant medical exam in the past three years. Compliant exam includes:

  • Physical exam with emphasis on the respiratory system.
  • A chest x-ray with “B” Reader.
  • A pulmonary function test
  • Testing for latent TB infection

Medical exams must occur at least every three years or sooner if recommended by the physician. Within 30 days of the exam, the physician must provide a written report of the results of the exam and a written medical opinion to the employer regarding the exam and the use of respirators. The employer should maintain the records of such exams for the length of the employment plus 30 years.

You can find the full ruling  here.

If you have any questions about medical surveillance and the new Silica Rule, please contact us, Emergency One at (845) 787.1400.