OSHA Proposes to Lower PEL for Crystalline Silica. The proposal was first put forth on August 23rd and is intended to decrease work related lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease. OSHA wants to lower its Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) from 100 micro grams of respirable silica per cubic meter of air to 50 micro grams.
It's important for the Obama Administration to pass this proposal as soon as possible. Silica is known to be a lethal carcinogen which causes silicosis, a deadly obstructive respiratory disease. Silica dust exposure kills hundreds of American workers and sickens thousands more every year.
Exposure to silica dust comes from operations involving the cutting, boring, or crushing or concrete, brick, block, and other stone. It also occurs in operations using sand such as glass manufacturing, foundries, and sand blasting.
Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary for OSHA, is quoted as saying, “Exposure to silica dust can be deadly; therefore, limiting exposure is essential. Every year hundreds of exposed workers not only lose their ability to work, but their ability to breathe. This bill will save thousands of lives each year from silicosis, an incurable and progressive disease, as well as other respiratory diseases and kidney disease.
When the new bill reaches its full potential, OSHA estimates it will save almost 700 lives every year while preventing some 1,600 new cases of silicosis in the same time frame.
The proposal sets forth common sense rules like keeping materials wet so silica doesn't become airborne. It also uses separate standards to fit different industries. The bill also includes widely used practices to limit worker exposure, doing medical surveillance, and training workers in silica related hazards, and detailed record keeping.
For more information on this proposal and other safety related issues, contact us today.