Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers: OSHA’s New Silica Rule

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People working in the construction industry are often exposed to high levels of silica, which, over time, can cause serious illnesses like silicosis, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In an effort of reduce silica exposure for workers in the construction industry, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) introduced a new rule that would address this issue and protect employees from the harmful effect of silica exposure.

The Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica rule will limit the amount of allowable crystalline silica exposure to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air averaged over an eight-hour shift. This is a 50 percent reduction compared to the 100 micrograms per cubic meter of air that has been the industry standard.

According to the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, the construction industry is going to benefit significantly from this new law. There is equipment available that can help control the amount of silica that is released into the air from things like using a jackhammer or cutting cinderblock, both of which produce clouds of dust that workers inhale.

Implementation of the rule began last month, and construction employers are required to be in full compliance by June of 2017. The silica rule has two standards, one for the general industry and one for the construction industry. The construction industry must follow what is known as Table 1 methods of exposure control. Employers who follow the Table 1 methods will not need to measure workers’ exposure, nor will they be subject to permissible exposure limits. Employers who do not follow Table 1 will be required to measure the silica levels to determine whether employees are exposed to silica levels beyond the permissible limit. They will also be expected to use dust controls, and provide respirators if the controls do not adequately limit exposure.

Table 1 is expected to become the gold standard of the construction industry in terms of protecting the safety of construction workers.

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Silica Exposure

If you or a loved one has been exposed to crystalline silica at a construction site and have been harmed as a result, contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton so that we can examine the details of your case and initiate the claims process on your behalf. We will not stop fighting until we have secured the maximum financial compensation for your injuries. For a free case review, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.