August 23, 2013
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OSHA Issues Proposed Rule on Silica
NISA Press Release
The Nationís Largest Sand Producers Say a Proposed Occupational Safety and Health Administration Silica Rule is Needed to Protect Workers
Summary Information on the Proposed Rule
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OSHA Issues Proposed Rule on Silica

Today the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the issuance of a comprehensive rulemaking to address crystalline silica exposures in the workplace.  During a press conference, OSHA activated new pages on its Website that address the crystalline silica proposal.  The relevant OSHA portal page can be accessed through the following link:  https://www.osha.gov/silica/index.html.  The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which also participated in the press conference, similarly referenced silica-related pages on its Website.  The relevant NIOSH portal page can be accessed through the following link: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/silica/.  The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is anticipated it announce a similar comprehensive rulemaking to address crystalline silica exposures in the mining workplace, but the latest Unified Regulatory Agenda has that action slated for December 2013.

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NISA Press Release
 
The Nationís Largest Sand Producers Say a Proposed Occupational Safety and Health Administration Silica Rule is Needed to Protect Workers

Below is a statement from Mark Ellis, president of the National Industrial Sand Association (NISA), on OSHA’s proposed silica rule announced August 23, 2013. NISA companies are the largest producers of industrial sand in the United States and supply sand for the oil and gas industry, glass manufacturing, foundries, building products, water filtration and other industrial uses.

“We look forward to working with OSHA on its proposed crystalline silica standard because we believe a rule is needed to further protect workers. We agree with OSHA’s mandating dust monitoring and medical surveillance. NISA companies have been voluntarily conducting dust monitoring and medical surveillance in their workplaces for more than 30 years and, as a result, have virtually eliminated silicosis from their workplaces.”
 
“Because our companies have successfully protected their workers under the current permissible exposure limit (PEL), we do not believe there is a proven need to lower that level and disagree with OSHA’s proposal to cut that limit in half. We believe our shared goal of eradicating silicosis from American workplaces can be achieved under the current exposure limit by requiring companies to comply with proposed rules for regular monitoring of the air their workers breathe to insure it is below the current limit.”
 
The National Industrial Sand Association’s Long History Of Protecting Workers’ Health
Industrial sand companies have one of the longest histories of working with silica and more direct contact with silica than anyone else in industry. It is why, more than three decades ago the National Industrial Sand Association and its member companies worked with occupational health experts to establish an Occupational Health Program (OHP).
The voluntary program consists of a strong management commitment to implement a silicosis prevention program, routine medical surveillance to look for lung disease, periodic assessments of the amount of silica dust exposure, implementation of dust control methodologies, employee involvement and smoking cessation programs. The NISA program goes far beyond current regulatory requirements, but its member companies have embraced this approach because it works to prevent silicosis and it is the right thing to do for our employees.
 
For more information about NISA’s Occupational Health Program go to:
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Summary Information on the Proposed Rule
Until a more thorough analysis of the proposed rule can be completed, we have excerpted summary statements from the OSHA Website regarding the proposal that we believe will be of immediate interest...
 
Major Provisions of the Proposed General Industry/Maritime Standard
 
The proposed standard for general industry and maritime includes provisions for employers to:
 
• Measure the amount of silica that workers are exposed to if it may be at or above an action level of 25 μg/m3 (micrograms of silica per cubic meter of air), averaged over an 8-hour day;
• Protect workers from respirable crystalline silica exposures above the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 μg/m3, averaged over an 8-hour day;
• Limit workers’ access to areas where they could be exposed above the PEL;
• Use dust controls to protect workers from silica exposures above the PEL;
• Provide respirators to workers when dust controls cannot limit exposures to the PEL;
• Offer medical exams—including chest X-rays and lung function tests—every three years for workers exposed above the PEL for 30 or more days per year;
• Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure; and
• Keep records of workers’ silica exposure and medical exams.
 
Major Provisions of the Proposed Construction Standard
 
The proposed standard for construction includes provisions for employers to:
 
• Measure the amount of silica that workers are exposed to if it may be at or above an action level of 25 μg/m3 (micrograms of silica per cubic meter of air), averaged over an 8-hour day;
• Protect workers from respirable crystalline silica exposures above the PEL of 50 μg/m3, averaged over an 8-hour day;
• Limit workers’ access to areas where they could be exposed above the PEL;
• Use dust controls to protect workers from silica exposures above the PEL;
• Provide respirators to workers when dust controls cannot limit exposures to the PEL;
• Offer medical exams—including chest X-rays and lung function tests—every three years for workers exposed above the PEL for 30 or more days per year;
• Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure; and
• Keep records of workers’ silica exposure and medical exams.
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