The September 2018 issue of Occupational Health & Safety featured an article discussing some commonly held misconceptions about OSHA’s silica dust rule by Nilfisk Applications Engineer Stephen Watkins. Read an excerpt below and check out the full article on the OH&S website.
Although the dangers of respirable crystalline silica have been known for more than 80 years, silica dust has only recently begun to be recognized as the major health hazard it is. In fact, silica is now frequently referred to in safety circles as “the new asbestos.”
However, despite the fact that the risks are well known, many employers still haven’t taken the steps required for compliance. These steps include measuring worker exposure, implementing controls to keep exposure below the specified limits, and verifying that those controls work.
In talking with our customers as well as outside safety consultants, we’ve learned that one reason many general industry employers still haven’t complied is that they don’t entirely understand the new standard and how it applies to them. This lack of understanding has led them to develop misconceptions that can be dangerous for everyone involved — dangerous for employees who aren’t being adequately protected from silica dust and dangerous for employers who aren’t prepared for inspectors to knock on the door.