Tag Archive | "regulation"

Silicosis: Incurable, but Preventable

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Silicosis: Incurable, but Preventable

Posted on 17 April 2015 by cradmin

With all of the attention the countertop industry continues to receive regarding silica exposure and the impending regulation changes,  we thought sharing this video produced by the Marble Institute of America (MIA) with the help of DuPont and Water Treatment Solutions, would be a good idea. “Silicosis: Incurable, but Preventable” contains excellent information on preventing this terrible ailment. However, it also recognizes that no single video can cover every given situation and that each particular circumstance should be assessed and precautions taken according to the variables present, with erring on the side of caution being the wisest path. We recognize that the countertop industry has done an excellent job of addressing this disease largely through the information sharing and efforts of organizations such as the MIA and we here at CountertopResource.com would like to recognize them for their efforts. However, we feel for those who have suffered needlessly through this terrible and preventable ailment, and urge you all to be always mindful in all situations, whatever your capacity in a facility or operation in which there is the risk of silicosis, and put safety at the forefront.

A Spanish version of the Silicosis video can be found here.

You might also be interested in this video on the hazards of silica exposure.

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MIA: ‘OSHA’s Proposed Silica Rule a Serious Concern for Construction Industry’

Posted on 17 September 2013 by cradmin

In response to a notice by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that it intends to reduce the current silica dust exposure rate by 50 percent, the Marble Institute of America (MIA) is urging OSHA to maintain current levels. According to a release from the MIA, the current silica levels “are appropriate if adhered to.”

“Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show a greater than 90 percent reduction in the silicosis mortality rate from 1968 to 2010,” stated the MIA release. “It is doubtful that a further reduction of the allowable exposure limits will impact those numbers.”

The MIA statement goes on to say that OSHA should focus more on compliance with current standards through urging wet cutting and stone industry education.

“The natural stone industry advocates the use of proper equipment, training, vigilance and continual monitoring to minimize the risk of silicosis,” states the release. “The MIA has produced videos, handouts, and training guidelines on awareness and prevention and is providing many of those resources free-of-charge to stone companies online at www.marble-institute.com/silica.”

“We consider ourselves partners with OSHA in this effort, and believe strongly that safety is paramount,” said James Hieb, MIA Executive Vice President. “Independent studies have estimated costs for construction industry compliance will well exceed $1 billion per year. Don’t hamper economic growth for companies who are in compliance at the current levels.”

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The Hazards of Silica Exposure in the Countertop Fabrication Industry

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The Hazards of Silica Exposure in the Countertop Fabrication Industry

Posted on 04 September 2013 by cradmin

With the recent proposed silica standard update from OSHA, new light is being shined on an old problem – silica exposure. It is important that anyone working with natural stone, concrete or quartz surfacing/engineered stone understands the risks of silica exposure and silicosis.

This video, put out by the U.S. Department of Labor, www.dol.gov, addresses just how dangerous silica exposure can be.

While most countertop fabrication companies in the United States understand the risks and take the necessary precautions to limit exposure, such as wet cutting, every fabrication company should be.

While this video is not exclusively for those in the stone countertop segment of the industry, anyone who is should probably view it. This is a matter that we hope you all take seriously.

If you have other videos you think would be of benefit to the industry, please drop us a line at [email protected] and let us know.

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OSHA Announces Proposed Decrease in Allowable Silica Exposure for Countertop Fabricators

Posted on 03 September 2013 by cradmin

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a proposed rule it says is “aimed at curbing lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America’s workers.” The proposal seeks to lower worker exposure to crystalline silica, which kills hundreds of workers and sickens thousands more each year. After publication of the proposal, the public will have 90 days to submit written comments, followed by public hearings.

Exposure to airborne silica dust occurs in operations involving cutting, sawing, drilling and crushing of concrete, brick, block and stone products and in operations using sand products, such as in glass manufacturing, foundries and sand blasting. The current permissible exposure limit (PEL) for countertop fabrication facilities is 100 micrograms per cubic meter of air in an 8-hour (one shift) time-weighted average. PELs for other industries range from 100 to 250 micrograms. Under the new proposal, all industries will have their PEL dropped to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air for an 8-hour time-weighted average. That is a 50 percent decrease in the PEL for those fabricating granite, quartz and other silica containing stones for countertop usage.

The proposed rule also includes provisions for measuring how much silica workers are exposed to, limiting workers’ access to areas where silica exposures are high, using effective methods for reducing exposures, providing medical exams to workers with high silica exposures and training for workers about silica-related hazards and how to limit exposure. These provisions are similar to industry consensus standards that many responsible employers have been using for years, and the technology to better protect workers is already widely available.

“Exposure to silica can be deadly, and limiting that exposure is essential,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “Every year, exposed workers not only lose their ability to work, but also to breathe. This proposal is expected to prevent thousands of deaths from silicosis-an incurable and progressive disease-as well as lung cancer, other respiratory diseases and kidney disease. We’re looking forward to public comment on the proposal.”

Once the full effects of the rule are realized, OSHA estimates that the proposed rule would result in saving nearly 700 lives per year and prevent 1,600 new cases of silicosis annually.

The proposal is based on extensive review of scientific and technical evidence, consideration of current industry consensus standards and outreach by OSHA to stakeholders, including public stakeholder meetings, conferences and meetings with employer and employee organizations.

“The proposed rule uses common sense measures that will protect workers’ lives and lungs-like keeping the material wet so dust doesn’t become airborne,” added Michaels. “It is designed to give employers flexibility in selecting ways to meet the standard.”

The agency currently enforces 40-year-old PELs for crystalline silica in general industry, construction and shipyards that are inconsistent between industries, which OSHA says are “outdated and do not adequately protect worker health.” The release issued August 23 regarding the new proposal states that “the proposed rule brings protections into the 21st century.”

The proposed rule includes the new exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica and details widely used methods for controlling worker exposure, conducting medical surveillance, training workers about silica-related hazards and recordkeeping measures.

OSHA rulemaking relies on input from the public and the agency will conduct extensive engagement to garner feedback from the public through both written and oral comments. OSHA will accept public comments on the proposed rule for 90 days following publication in the Federal Register, followed by public hearings. Once public hearings conclude, members of the public who filed a notice of intention to appear can then submit additional post-hearing comments. Additional information on the proposed rule, including a video; procedures for submitting comments and the public hearings can be found at www.osha.gov/silica. OSHA’s official Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, can be found www.osha.gov/silica/nprm.pdf. This more than 750-page document includes instructions on how to submit public comment as well as estimated costs that affected companies would incur.

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