As you know OSHA is always working to keep workers as safe as possible. Recently, OSHA issued two new rules to protect you from exposed respirable crystalline silica.
So what exactly is that and how does it affect you? If you ever use drills, grinders or jackhammers, chip things by hand, or operate heavy demolition equipment, chances are, you’ve been exposed to the chemical dust. Estimates show that about two million construction workers are exposed to silica.
Under the new standards, any process that exceeds the permissible exposure limit (PEL) must be adapted to lower the level of exposure. For example, if you’re using a handheld power saw on any affected materials, you have to swap to a system that feeds water continuously to the blade.
If you’re looking to cut siding, but you don’t want to use a water saw, you might want to look into the Bullet Tools SharpShooter. It is perfect for cutting siding because not only does it not need electricity, it is dust free! Forget masks, messy cleanups, or exposure to silica.
While many jobs are affected, it is important to note that if you’re pouring concrete or removing concrete formwork, you’re only exposed to low levels.
To find out more on the exact PELs and how to measure them, learn more about what equipment is affected and the required protection factors, and/ or to find out additional information, please visit http://www.osha.gov/silica.