Revised guidance on skin protection against exposure to portland cement (note Compliance Matters, pages 45-47) follows the Occupational Safety and Health
Revised guidance on skin protection against exposure to portland cement (note Compliance Matters, pages 45-47) follows the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s recently announced National Emphasis Program (NEP) to target worksites where employees are at risk for developing silicosis. Exposure to silica threatens nearly two million American employees annually, says Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin Foulke, Jr. Under this program, OSHA will work diligently to maximize the protection of employees and eliminate workplace exposures to silica-related hazards.
The NEP compliance directive builds on policies and procedures instituted in the 1996 Special Emphasis Program and includes an updated list of industries commonly known to have overexposures to silica, including Masonry, Stone Setting, and Other Stone Work; Concrete Work; Concrete Block and Brick; Concrete Products except Block and Brick; Ready Mixed Concrete; and, Cut Stone and Stone Products.
The directive also offers detailed information on potential hazards linked to silica and current research regarding silica exposure hazards; guidance on calculating the Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs) for dust containing respirable crystalline silica in the construction and maritime industries; and, guidance on conducting silica-related inspections. Two additional elements included in the directive are an evaluation procedure for recording reductions of employee exposures to silica, as well as information on outreach programs, partnerships and alliances with employers to share resources and training to reduce employee exposures.
Silicosis is a disabling, nonreversible and sometimes-fatal lung disease caused by breathing in a large amount of crystalline silica, OSHA officials note. More information on hazard recognition and possible solutions to silica exposure is posted at www.osha.gov.