TULSA, Okla., July 3, 2018 — Now that the silica rule, 29 CFR 1910.1053, is enforceable for General Industry as of Saturday, June 23, wellsite employers need to have specific measures in place to combat the hazards associated with respirable crystalline silica exposure.
AIRIS’ Director of Industrial Hygiene, Joseph Kraham, reminds us that while the main innovation of OSHA’s new silica standard cuts the acceptable exposure limit roughly in half – to 50 μg/m3, it also requires implementation of additional layers and types of protection to exposed employees, such as:
- Comprehensive exposure control plans
- Exposure assessments
- Engineering and work practice controls
- Medical surveillance and record keeping
- Regulated areas and PPE
- Communication of hazards
In June, OSHA released a memo advising that during the first 30 days of enforcement “it will assist employers that are making good faith efforts to meet the new standard’s requirements.” It is important for Operators and Contractors to take steps now to protect their wellsites and employees.
“The weight of responsibility for keeping all workers safe can be confusing when it comes to multi-employer wellsites,” said Kraham.
Operators and Contractors must determine their role according to the multi-employer worksite doctrine – creating, exposing, correcting, or controlling employer. Contracting philosophies for sourcing proppant and associated services can create complicated, overlapping roles. These should be assessed closely.
AIRIS’ Industrial Hygiene services, in conjunction with its silica dust control expertise, can provide companies with the appropriate data to make informed decisions regarding their silica compliance strategy.