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General Industry and Maritime Operations Prepare for OSHA’s Crystalline Silica Standard Enforcement

The industrial hygiene professionals at Clark Seif Clark (CSC) identify respirable exposure risks to protect workers and keep companies in compliance.

Chatsworth, CA – WEBWIRE

The final rule is being implemented by OSHA in an effort to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and kidney disease that can occur in workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica.

On June 23rd, companies and institutions categorized as maritime or general industry will be subject to enforcement of a new final rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to limit worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica. These enforcement actions follow the implementation of a similar final rule for construction companies that went into effect last year.
The final rule is being implemented by OSHA in an effort to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and kidney disease that can occur in workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica. The agency currently believes that approximately 295,000 workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in over 75,000 general industry and maritime workplaces. Over 100,000 of these general industry and maritime workers are exposed to silica levels that exceed the new permissible exposure limit (PEL) reports OSHA.
The standard for general industry and maritime requires employers to:

  • Measure the amount of silica that workers are exposed to if it may be at or above an action level of 25 μg/m3 (micrograms of silica per cubic meter of air), averaged over an 8-hour day;
  • Protect workers from respirable crystalline silica exposures above the permissible exposure limit of 50 μg/m3, averaged over an 8-hour day;
  • Limit workers’ access to areas where they could be exposed above the PEL;
  • Use dust controls to protect workers from silica exposures above the PEL;
  • Provide respirators to workers when dust controls cannot limit exposures to the PEL;
  • Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers;
  • Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica where feasible alternatives are available;
  • Offer medical exams — including chest X-rays and lung function tests — every three years for workers exposed at or above the action level for 30 or more days per year;
  • Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure; and
  • Keep records of workers’ silica exposure and medical exams.

“Crystalline silica exposure can occur during countless tasks since it is such a common mineral found in everything from stone and concrete products to asphalt roofing materials and even items used in dental laboratories,” said Zahid Iqbal, MPH, CIH and Technical Director at Clark Seif Clark. “To help companies and institutions impacted by this new final rule prepare for its implementation and upcoming enforcement, CSC’s industrial hygiene professionals are available to enact and assist with compliance strategies that include air testing, monitoring, engineering controls, record keeping, personal protective equipment fit testing and employee hazard communication training.”
CSC also recently sponsored an educational video about crystalline silica exposure hazards in general industry and maritime operations that can be seen at:
To learn more about this or other occupational, environmental, air quality, health and safety testing services, please visit, email or call (800) 807-1118. 
About Clark Seif Clark
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.

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 Crystalline Silica
 Air Testing
 Industrial Hygiene

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