Silica: Interim enforcement guidance issued
On June 25 2018, OSHA issued an interim enforcement guidance. Most of the standardâ€™s requirements became enforceable two days earlier, with the exception of certain requirements related to hydraulic fracturing and medical surveillance.
Summary of the â€œHousekeeping Practicesâ€ section
- Dry sweeping/brushing are prohibited unless wet sweeping, HEPA-filtered vacuuming, or other methods that minimize the likelihood of silica exposure are not feasible.
- Sweeping compounds are acceptable as long as the compounds donâ€™t create additional exposures.
- Compressed air is not allowed for cleaning unless used in conjunction with a ventilation system or no alternative method is feasible.
- If drivable powered industrial sweepers are equipped with HEPA filters, they are considered â€œHEPA-filtered vacuuming.â€
- Review the employerâ€™s written exposure control plan.
- Interview and/or observe employees who are cleaning up dust.
- If necessary, collect a bulk sample and/or personal air samples to document that the dust contains crystalline silica.
Citations will be issued where:
- An employer allows dry sweeping/brushing even though the employer canâ€™t demonstrate that the preferred methods arenâ€™t feasible.
- An employer allows the use of compressed air without a ventilation system or the employer canâ€™t demonstrate that the preferred methods arenâ€™t feasible.
For details on other sections of the standard, read the whole memo.
Beryllium: Amendments in effect, certain provisions delayed
On May 4 2018, OSHA issued a new final rule that updated the definitions of â€œberyllium work area,â€ â€œemergency,â€ â€œskin contact,â€ and â€œcontamination.â€ The agency also clarified that most of the requirements apply to materials containing at least 0.1% beryllium by weight.
On May 11, some provisions of the beryllium standard became enforceable:
- General industry: PEL, exposure assessment, respiratory protection, medical surveillance, and medical removal
- Construction: PEL only
- Shipyard: PEL only