Silica Dust Standards and Innovative Products Work Together to Keep Workers Safe

Silica Dust StandardsWith new standards for exposure to silica dust under consideration, new products are already being fielded that improve silica dust safety and reduce the amount of airborne crystalline silica on constructions sites.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed new rules that improve silica dust exposure standards by reducing the permissible exposure limit (PEL), which is the maximum amount of silica dust an employee may be exposed to during a full work shift, according to a definition on the OSHA website.

OSHA proposes reducing the silica dust PEL from 100 milligrams of respirable silica dust per cubic meter of air to 50 milligrams per cubic meter of air, according to an article on the Builder website.

The new rules are being proposed to improve employee safety in the construction industry and related fields. Workers exposed to even less than the 100 milligram PEL are still at risk for serious health consequences, such as lung cancer and silicosis, according to Bloomberg BNA.

Silica is a common ingredient in many types of construction materials, including brick, concrete, drywall, cement, mortar and asphalt.

Numerous manufacturers of construction equipment have already increased the performance and efficiency of their products to improve silica dust safety. In collaboration with makers of construction materials, the new equipment is expected to improve worksite safety and reduce silica dust exposure on the job.

For example, Roan Tools has introduced a dust-collecting circular saw designed to significantly reduce the amount of silica dust that enters the air during cutting operations. The self-contained unit has filters and suction equipment attached directly to the saw. Bosch Tools has introduced a new line of dust-collecting vacuums that offers better dust removal along with improved filtration, suction and performance.

Construction industry professionals who need reliable, up-to-date building permit data can turn to Construction Monitor for the latest, most accurate information. Contact us today for more information on silica dust safety and industry standards and best practices for dealing with this unavoidable byproduct of construction processes.

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