OSHA Revises National Emphasis Program on Silica
OSHA has revised its National Emphasis Program (NEP) to identify and reduce or eliminate worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) in general industry, maritime and construction. The NEP targets specific industries expected to have the highest numbers of workers exposed to silica, and focuses on enforcement of the general industry and maritime standard (29 CFR 1910.1053), which took effect June 23, 2018, and the construction standard (29 CFR 1926.1153), which took effect Sept. 23, 2017.
The agency will provide stakeholders with compliance assistance for 90 days before it begins programmed inspections under the directive. Employers should note several key changes in this version of the NEP:
- Revised application to the lower permissible exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) as an 8-hour time-weighted average in general industry, maritime and construction.
- Updated list of target industries that area offices will use to develop randomized lists of employers in their local jurisdictions for targeted inspections.
- Compliance officers will refer to current enforcement guidance for RCS inspection procedures.
- All OSHA regional and area offices must comply with this NEP, but they are not required to develop corresponding regional or local emphasis programs.
- State-plan states must participate because of the nationwide exposures to silica.
For more information on the health effects from silica exposure, and how employers can protect workers, visit OSHA’s Safety and Health Topics webpage on Crystalline Silica.
- Frequently Asked Questions ("FAQs") for the Construction Industry (NEW)
- Frequently Asked Questions for General Industry (NEW)
- OSHA Fact Sheet 3681: Construction
- OSHA Fact Sheet 3682: General Industry and Maritime
- OSHA Fact Sheet: Final Review Overview
- OSHA Final Rule (complete 1,772 page document)
- OSHA Table 1 (helpful to those using the Construction Standard)
- How OSHA's Silica Rule Impacts Construction
- Congressman Bill Huizenga letter
- Crystalline Silica Prevention Toolbox Talk with Exam
- What is Crystalline Silica Toolbox Talk with Exam
- Silica Safety Precautions
- Checklist - Silicosis Prevention
- NIOSH - Engineering Controls for Silica in Construction
- NIOSH - Silica
- Silica Safe Website
Controlling Silica Dust in Construction Videos for Table 1 Tasks (NEW)
- Stationary Masonry Saws
- Handheld Power Saws
- Handheld and Stand-Mounted Drills
- Jackhammers or Handheld Powered Chipping Tools
- Handheld Grinders for Mortar Removal (Tuckpointing)
- Handheld Grinders for Uses Other than Mortar Removal
Controlling Silica Dust in Construction Fact Sheets for Table 1 Tasks
- Handheld Power Saws Fact Sheet
- Handheld Grinders for Tasks Other Than Mortar Removal Fact Sheet
- Handheld Power Saws Used to Cut Fiber-Cement Board
- Jackhammers or Handheld Powered Chipping Tools Fact Sheet
- Handheld and Stand-Mounted Drills Fact Sheet
- Stationary Masonry Saws Fact Sheet
- Handheld Grinders for Mortar Removal (Tuckpointing) Fact Sheet
- Walk-Behind Saws Fact Sheet
- Drivable Saws Fact Sheet
- Rig-Mounted Core Saws or Drills Fact Sheet
- Dowel Drilling Rigs for Concrete Fact Sheet
- Vehicle-Mounted Drilling Rigs for Rock and Concrete Fact Sheet
- Walk-Behind Milling Machines and Floor Grinders Fact Sheet
- Small Drivable Milling Machines (Less than Half Lane) Fact Sheet
- Large Drivable Milling Machines (Half Lane and Larger) Fact Sheet
- Crushing Machines Fact Sheet
- Heavy Equipment and Utility Vehicles Used During Demolition Activities Fact Sheet
- Heavy Equipment and Utility Vehicles Used for Grading and Excavating Tasks Fact Sheet
Sample Silica Training Powerpoints (NEW)
Resources for the Construction Industry
- Silica. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Safety and Health Topic. Provides information about silica as well as links to related publications and references.
- NIOSH Silica Controls for Construction Page
- Control of Hazardous Dust during Tuckpointing. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2008-126, (2008, September).
- Silicosis in Sandblasters: A Case Study Adapted for Use in U.S. High Schools. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2002-105, (2002, June). Provides a case study developed for use in teaching epidemiology to high school students. Includes basic information about the disease silicosis, potential routes of exposure to silica, and controls.
- Working Safely with Silica. The Center for Construction Research and Training (also known as CPWR) has a website with resources to help contractors and workers understand the health risk involved and implement measures to control dust.
- Silica and Road Construction: Silicosis. New York Department of Health document addressing silica dangers in road construction.
- OSHA Clinicians page. The page provides information for clinicians to understand important ethical, regulatory, and clinical issues.