Jul 13, 2020
Guidance for Silica Inspectors Can Help Employers Get Safety Right
BY AsphaltPro Staff
The asphalt industry already knows that under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. With the introduction of respirable crystalline silica exposure standards for general industry, maritime, and construction, that responsibility grew in complexity. OSHA released an abstract June 25, 2020, titled “Inspection Procedures for the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standards” to ensure uniformity in its inspection and enforcement procedures of those standards.
The 94-page document gives instruction to inspectors, obviously, but can also be seen as guidance for contractors who wish to ensure they are following Table 1, not just to avoid penalty, but in the spirit of the law.
The document provides OSHA compliance safety and health officers with guidance on how to enforce the silica standards’ requirements, including:
- Methods of compliance;
- Table 1 tasks and specified exposure control methods;
- Exposure assessments;
- Respiratory protection;
- Regulated areas;
- Employee information and training;
- Medical surveillance; and
- Communication of hazards
The directive also provides clarity on major topics, such as alternative exposure control methods when a construction employer does not fully and properly implement Table 1, variability in sampling, multi-employer situations, and temporary workers.
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