WHAT IS CRYSTALLINE SILICA?
Crystalline Silica includes quartz and can be toxic if inhaled. This form of silica can be found in rock, brick, and concrete.
When this material is crushed to fine powder form it becomes respirable and can cause serious respiratory problems. Each year 2.3 million North American workers are exposed to Crystalline Silica.
As a preventative measure, PRIME suggests that workers at a construction site or quarry wear an appropriate dust mask or respirator as much as possible.
HOW TO PROTECT AGAINST CRYSTALLINE SILICA?
- Workers who inhale these very small Crystalline Silica particles are at increased risk of developing serious silica-related diseases, including: Silicosis, an incurable lung disease that can lead to disability and death;
- Lung cancer
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); and
- Kidney disease
PRIME silica prevention and testing methods meet OSHA standards and it is recommended that employees receive yearly silica examinations. PRIME will administer these tests with their staff of NIOSH certified providers.
OSHA: PRIVATE SECTOR FEDERAL & STATE PLANS
OSHA covers most private sector employers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. jurisdictions—either directly through federal OSHA or through an OSHA approved state plan.
- State plans are OSHA-approved job safety and health programs operated by individual states instead of federal OSHA. State-run safety and health programs are required to be at least as effective as the federal OSHA program.
- Federal OSHA approves and monitors all state plans and provides as much as fifty percent of the funding for each program. Federal OSHA provides coverage to certain workplaces specifically excluded from a state’s plan — for example, work in maritime industries or on military bases.
OSHA: NEW SILICA STANDARDS
To better protect workers exposed to respirable Crystalline Silica, OSHA has issued two new respirable Crystalline Silica standards: one for construction, and the other for general industry and OSHA started enforcing provisions of the standard for construction on September 23, 2017 and for general industry and maritime on June 23, 2018.
Five additional states and one U.S. territory have OSHA approved state plans that cover public sector workers only: Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and the Virgin Islands.