New Construction Products August 2017 - Page 14

But this evaluation may require outside industrial hygiene pirators). Examples of engineering controls include: local For construction workers foreseeably required to wear control, and can only be deployed if silica levels cannot be reduced below the PEL even after all feasible engineering assistance to ensure that you are not comparing “apples to oranges.” respiratory protection (including N95 dust masks) for 30+ days per year, medical surveillance will be required and must be repeated periodically. The medical surveillance must be made available at no cost to each employee and be done by a licensed health care professional initially and then every three years (or more if the health care pro- fessional recommends it). The baseline exam must take a work history concerning exposure to silica, dusts and other agents affecting the respiratory system, the worker’s history of respiratory system dysfunction and TB, smoking status and history, and the worker will receive a physical exam, a chest X-ray, pulmonary function test, and a TB test. The biggest challenge of the rule, for activities outside of the prescriptive requirements in Table One, is that em- ployers will need to implement all feasible engineering and work practice controls, before moving to the use of personal protective equipment (appropriately rated res- exhaust ventilation, vacuum systems, and use of water-in- tegrated tools. PPE can no longer be the first option for and administrative controls have been implemented. In addition, housekeeping measures must be used that will not generate respirable silica in the work environment, so dry sweeping or brushing, and use of compressed air for cleanup will no longer be permitted. Employers must develop a worksite-specific written exposure control plan, and construction employers must designate a competent person to develop and implement their control plans. The plan needs to be reviewed annual- ly and updated when procedures, equipment or conditions change. The exposure control plan should be developed based on the site-specific sampling information (or objec- tive data) that the employer has compiled for each task/ type of equipment. In addition to considering the silica exposures that they may directly generate, subcontractors who are involved with multi-employer worksites will need to consider what ancillary exposures to silica may result from working downwind from other contractors who might be more heavily involved with crushing, grinding, or milling of construction materials and whose respirable dust can drift into other employers’ work areas. General contrac- tors will want to address this as well, as they may have the deep pockets for future silica tort litigation arising from claims by subcontractors’ workers. Although the rule’s ultimate fate will be decided by the court, perhaps with an assist from the new Administra- tion in delaying effective dates, it is unlikely that the rule will be eliminated and so employers need to be prepared … and there is a lot of work to be done! For more information on compliance with the new rule, de- velopment of exposure control plans and sampling strate- gies, and competent person training, contact the Law Office of Adele L. Abrams PC at www.safety-law.com. We advise employers nationwide on silica management and other OSHA compliance and litigation matters. • 12 New Construction Products • August ‘17