ASPIRE is a quarterly magazine published by PCI in cooperation with the associations of the National Concrete Bridge Council. The editorial content focuses on the latest technology and key issues in the Concrete Bridge Industry.
Issue link: http://www.aspiremagazinebyengineers.com/i/697527
S A F E T Y A N D S E R V I C E A B I L I T Y 48 | ASPIRE Summer 2016 ASPIRE ™ r a r e l y v e n t u r e s i n t o h e a l t h a n d s a f e t y i s s u e s i n v o l v i n g c o n c r e t e m a n u f a c t u r i n g o r j o b s i t e c o n s t r u c t i o n . H o w e v e r, a r u l i n g p u b l i s h e d b y O S H A i n t h e Fe d e r a l Re g i s t e r o n M a r c h 2 5 , 2 0 1 6 , r equir es rapt attention by ev er y company engaged in ready-mixed or precast concrete production and conducting operations on c o n c r e t e a n d c e r t a i n o t h e r m a t e r i a l s o n j o b s i t e s . C o n s t r u c t i o n e n g i n e e r s , a g e n c y personnel, and consultants will experience new procedures and restrictions on jobsites. This action by OSHA will impact normal operations of a long list of different kinds of businesses and industries. This article focuses on the ruling and its implications to both manufacturing and construction activities related to concrete bridges. Background C r y s t a l l i n e s i l i c a i s o n e o f t h e m o s t c o m m o n m i n e r a l s o n e a r t h . I t i s fo u n d in sand, stone, concrete, brick, block, and mortar. "Respirable" silica consists of ver y s m a l l p a r t i c l e s c a p a b l e o f r e a c h i n g t h e lungs, less than 10 microns in aerodynamic diameter—hundreds of times smaller than "sand." Prolonged exposure has been shown to sometimes lead to silicosis, COPD, lung cancer, and kidney disease. P r i o r t o t h i s r u l i n g , t h e a p p l i c a b l e s t a n d a r d s fo r e x p o s u r e w e r e e s t a b l i s h e d i n 1 9 7 1 , w h e n O S H A w a s c r e a t e d . T h e g o v e r n m e n t c l a i m s t h a t t h i s s t a n d a r d does not adequately pr otect workers. The gov ernment website document s show the projected numbers of affected workers, cost savings, and benefits to workers related to the new ruling. The new rule PEL is roughly 50% of the previous PEL for general industry and roughly 20% of the previous PEL for the construction industry. The two new crystalline silica rules are: 29 CFR 1910.1053 pertaining to general industry (for example, precast concrete manufacture) and maritime and 29 CFR 1926.1153 that pertains to construction. The effective date of this ruling is June 23, 2016. The mandatory dates for compliance are given at the end of this article. These regulations and additional information may be obtained at www.osha. gov/silica. Effects on Operations The means of compliance for construction and manufacturing ar e slightly differ ent but many are the same. The differences are that construction practices are intermittent, occurring at indiscriminate locations, while p l a n t o p e r a t i o n s a r e u s u a l l y r e p e t i t i o u s a n d i n m o r e d e t e r m i n a n t l o c a t i o n s . T h e standards are intended to provide equivalent protection for all workers while accounting for the different work activities, anticipated exposur es, and other conditions in these sectors. There are numerous specific details that pertain to many of the requirements. This article is not all inclusive. The regulations should be consulted. In general, the standards contain the AL, the PEL, and other requirements including: • employee exposure assessment, • regulated areas, • methods of compliance, • respiratory protection, • medical surveillance, • communication of silica hazards to employees, and • recordkeeping. Fo r e a s e o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g , t h e r u l i n g on constr uction (1926.1153) is taken up first. Any differences will be explained. The constr uction standar d includes a lengthy " Ta b l e 1 — S p e c i f i e d E x p o s u r e C o n t r o l M e t h o d s W h e n Wo r k i n g W i t h M a t e r i a l s Crystalline Silica Exposure in the Workplace by John S. Dick, J. Dick Precast Concrete Consultant LLC The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's ruling likely will materially change practices in the concrete and construction industries Abbreviations Used in this Article μ g/m 3 – micrograms of silica per cubic meter of air AL – action level (25 μ g/m 3 averaged over an 8-hour day) APF – assigned protection factor COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease CT – computed tomography (CAT scan) HEPA – high-efficiency particulate air—an air filter that is at least 99.97% efficient in removing particles 0.3 microns (0.001 mm) or larger in diameter HRCT – high-resolution computed tomography OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration PEL – permissible exposure limit (50 μ g/m 3 averaged over an 8-hour day) PLHCP – physician or other licensed health care professional PPE – personal protective equipment RCS – respirable crystalline silica SSN – social security number