New Rules requires additional steps to keep workers from breathing silica dust.
Express Chipping, Inc., the national leader in redi-mix concrete chipping services throughout the United States is a leader when it comes to reducing the exposure to silica for its employees. We have always taken safety and silica exposure very seriously and the new regulations thanfully does not change anything for us. We are and have been in compliance with our current respirtory and fit testing program which is performed every year for each employee. Express Chipping takes a proactive approach to all safety issues and ensure the all our employees are well notified and trained on all risk exposure. We use the latest technology in air filtration masks to ensure the exposure meets the threshold per OSHA. If we have the ability to exceed the mandated rules we make every effort to do so.
OSHA has issued a final rule to reduce lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America's workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The rule is comprised of two standards, one for Construction and one for General Industry and Maritime. Ready Mix companies are preparing for these new rules for their plant operations but we wanted to make sure our customers knew that Express Chipping, Inc. is in compliance.
OSHA estimates that the rule will save over 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis each year, once its effects are fully realized. The Final Rule is projected to provide net benefits of about $7.7 billion, annually.
About 2.3 million workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in their workplaces, including 2 million construction workers who drill, cut, crush, or grind silica-containing materials such as concrete and stone, and 300,000 workers in general industry operations such as brick manufacturing, foundries, and hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Express Chipping, Inc. is a responsible employer and have been protecting workers from harmful exposure to respirable crystalline silica for years, using widely-available equipment via mechanical and appropriate PPE.
The following are some of the key provisions to the new ruling:
- Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift.
- Requires employers to: use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) to limit worker exposure to the PEL; provide respirators when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure; limit worker access to high exposure areas; develop a written exposure control plan, offer medical exams to highly exposed workers, and train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures.
- Provides medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers and gives them information about their lung health.
- Provides flexibility to help employers — especially small businesses — protect workers from silica exposure.
Both standards contained in the final rule took effect on June 23, 2016., after which industries have one to five years to comply with most requirements, thanfully Express Chipping has already implemented our safety policies. Compliance will be based on the following schedule:
Construction - June 23, 2017, one year after the effective date.
General Industry and Maritime - June 23, 2018, two years after the effective date.
Hydraulic Fracturing - June 23, 2018, two years after the effective date for all provisions except Engineering Controls, which have a compliance date of June 23, 2021.
Express Chipping, Inc will continue to offer our manual chipping services with the protection of our employees as the highest priority especially from Silica. As we see the matter coming up and will be the hot topic at the upcoming World of Concrete, we know the industry wants us to ensure compliance. Knowing this some companies are using scare tactics to sell some new technology. There are a few companies, one of them is "ready-jet" offers automatic chipping equipment with high pressure water. Although brilliant in theory but simply not efficient enougg, very cumbersome and expensive to operate and maintain. The equipment does not work on full loads and you still have to enter the drum to chip out certain areas. It does not completly eliminated the need for a confined space permit and the amount of water is uses is astronomical. Although these companies will tell you that they work great and will try to scare you into spending the money, we have found after 20 years of concrete chipping experience, they simply do not work well enough for the day to day realities of running a concrete plant. We are supporters of trying to find a way with technology to eliminate the need for a man to enter the drum but some tasks are too difficult to automate and concrete chipping ready mix drums is one of them.
If you have any questions regarding our services feel free to contact us at (562) 789-8058 or visit our website at www.chippingconcrete.com