The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, better known as OSHA, has been cracking down on a new silica standard compliance that came into effect in June 2016.
This new rule requires manufacturers to reduce silica exposure to their workers. Quartz is the most common form of silica, and it is a component of elements such as sand, stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar. Workers can become vulnerable to silica dust when they are cutting, sawing, drilling, crushing, or processing any of the previously mentioned minerals. Because silica is so vastly abundant in nature it can exist in your plant even if you do not process those materials.
Silica is extremely dangerous, because it can cause silicosis. This is a progressive and incurable lung disease that is oftentimes fatal. What happens is the silica particles, that have jagged edges, lodge themselves in the lungs. Over time, scar tissue heals over the portion of the lungs where the silica has embedded itself. This reduces lung function causing difficulty breathing, fatigue, loss of appetite, chest pain, and respiratory failure. Along with lung disease, exposure to silica dust has also been linked to lung cancer, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease. It is imperative to worker safety that prevention guidelines are in place, as there is no cure for these diseases caused by silica.
OSHA new compliance standard requires that workers exposure to silica is reduced and that there is a documented control plan in place.
In the Processing® Magazine March issue article, “OSHA Silica Standard Compliance,” industry experts discuss the new OSHA Silica compliance and the dangers of silica in a manufacturing environment.
“OSHA continues to accentuate the need for the effective containment of silica dust due to the health hazards posed. Since the best method is to collect the dust at its source Hapman provides a variety of dust control methods for collecting the silica dust while feeding the silica into your process from small 25 kg or Bulk Bags,” notes Greg Patterson, Hapman Vice President. Hapman’s bag dump station with integral dust collector is a perfect match for being compliant with OSHA’s new silica regulations, and keeping your plant safe, clean, and efficient.
The dust collector reduces material waste while eliminating the need to continually clean or have a separate dust collection location. Hapman’s bag dump station with integral dust collector integrates well with conveyors, mixers, and other equipment.
It’s crucial to understand and implement the key provisions of OSHA’s silica dust rule. Not only to ensure that you are compliant and do not get penalized for non-compliance in your facility, but most importantly to keep your plant and workers safe every single day.