TULSA, Okla., May 23, 2018 — On June 23, OSHA’s Silica Rule becomes fully enforceable. By this date, wellsite employers will need to have implemented a total dust control solution to combat the hazards associated with respirable crystalline silica exposure.
OSHA’s standard cuts the acceptable exposure limit roughly in half to 50 μg/m3 and encourages a 75 percent reduction for optimal levels says AIRIS Vice President & Controller Katie Sallee.
“However, this is only one part of the rule,” said Sallee. “Many companies don’t realize the regulations have 10 other requirements.”
The regulations also require:
- Comprehensive exposure control plan
- Exposure assessment
- Engineering and work practice controls
- Medical surveillance and record keeping
- Regulated areas and PPE
- Communication of hazards
From a controller’s perspective, Sallee encourages companies to take steps now before they are hit with fines from OSHA. The maximum fine amount for serious violations and for failure to abate is $12,675.
“But, this is per violation,” continued Sallee. “If your wellsite has multiple violations, you can easily hit six figures fast. Not to mention, some fines are per day — now you’re risking seven figures.”
Willful or repeated violations have the possibility of receiving an additional $126,749 fine that can also compound per day.
With only 30 days left, E&P and service companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing activity should look for a partner that can help mitigate both the health and financial risks associated with overexposure to respirable silica dust.