TULSA, Okla., August 11, 2017 // As oilfield employers race to meet stricter new workplace silica safety standards, AIRIS Wellsite Services is providing the solutions employers need to achieve and maintain OSHA compliance.
Pressure pumpers and E&P companies have less than a year to protect their employees from dangerous levels of respirable crystalline silica. A danger present at virtually every frac site, overexposure to respirable silica dust puts workers at risk for cancer, silicosis, and other chronic health issues.
The new OSHA standard cuts the acceptable exposure limit roughly in half to 50 μg/m3, and encourages a 75 percent reduction for optimal levels. AIRIS Industrial Hygiene Manager Justin Lopez says as companies become aware of the OSHA rule, many are beginning to investigate where they stand.
“Statistics tell a story,” says Lopez. “Incomplete data can tell a misleading story. Some employers may believe they are meeting the OSHA standard – even if they aren’t – because the statistics they are interpreting incorrectly tells them they are maintaining compliance.”
Proper assessments for silica dust exposure require knowledgeable experts to take accurate samples and analyze risk. Contributing risk factors can vary significantly from wellsite to wellsite, even day to day.
“Employers tell me it is rare to see engineering control companies doing on-site field testing to ensure their equipment is doing what they say it does,” adds Lopez. “But AIRIS is frequently gathering data and testing our systems. This scientific approach is the only way to get unbiased information that assures we are truly protecting employees’ health.”
AIRIS’ robust quality assurance system ensures its Total Dust Control Solution™ is delivering efficiency on every rig-up. This quality control protocol also includes routine testing and end-of-job reporting. Just this week, Lopez visited wellsites in two states to evaluate equipment, gather data, and partner with employers to establish workplace best practices.
OSHA begins enforcing its stricter exposure standard in June 2018. Employers should take steps now to both discover a solution and verify the solution is working.