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New National Emphasis Program Instructions for Respirable Crystalline Silica Published by OSHA and Protecting Workers in Puerto Rico

Zimmetry Environmental provides testing, monitoring and consulting services to identify and mitigate occupational exposure risks to crystalline silica to protect workers and keep companies in regulatory compliance.

Bayamon, Puerto Rico – WEBWIRE

The new National Emphasis Program is important for so many workers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands because exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis.

Instructions for implementing a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to identify and reduce or eliminate worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) in general industry, maritime and construction were recently published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The NEP replaces the former one that was cancelled back in late 2017. The new instructions apply OSHA-wide and because it describes a federal program change, State Plan adoption is required for those states with their own programs. This includes the Puerto Rico State Plan for the commonwealth.
OSHA provides the following list of highlights of some of the differences between this replacement NEP and the former NEP:

  • This replacement NEP addresses enforcement of OSHA’s standards for RCS, promulgated in 2016. One standard covers general industry and maritime, and the other covers construction. Both standards set a permissible exposure limit (PEL) for RCS of 50 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA). The former TWA PELs for respirable quartz silica were calculated based on silica content and were approximately equivalent to 100 µg/m3 for general industry and 250 µg/m3 for construction and shipyards (81 FR at 16294, March 25, 2016).
  • The NEP contains an updated list of target industries, listed by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.
  • For inspection procedures, this NEP refers compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) to current enforcement guidance for the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standards.

“The new National Emphasis Program is important for so many workers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands because exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “Silicosis is a progressive, disabling and often fatal lung disease. Exposure is also associated with an increased risk for lung infections, lung cancer, emphysema, autoimmune diseases and kidney disease.”
Safeguarding workers and helping companies comply with the new NEP are the industrial hygiene professionals at Zimmetry Environmental. Their experts offer occupational exposure testing and air monitoring for crystalline silica and a wide range of other respirable hazards.
To learn more about Zimmetry Environmental and their industrial hygiene, air quality, environmental, and compliance and consulting services, please visit, call (787) 995.0005 or email .
About Zimmetry Environmental
Since 2002, Zimmetry Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies.  The company is based in Puerto Rico and provides services across the Caribbean and Central America.  The professionals at Zimmetry offer environmental compliance, indoor air quality, asbestos, lead-based paint, Phase I ESAs and general environmental consulting services.

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 Puerto Rico
 Crystalline Silica
 Occupational Health
 Industrial Hygiene

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