OSHA's Proposed Silica Rule

OSHA’s Proposed Silica Standard May Be Very Costly for Cast Polymer and Polymer Concrete Operations, Without Providing Any Worker Health Benefits

How can your company support this effort?

Write to OSHA today, asking the agency to carefully consider the effectiveness and feasibility of requirements for cast polymer and polymer concrete manufacturers.

Use this sample letter (download Word file)

Why is the OSHA rulemaking important?

Excessive workplace exposure to cryfstalline silica can cause serious illnesses such as silicosis and lung cancer. OSHA recently proposed a major regulation designed to protect workers from silica exposure.

Many of the materials we use contain silica, including sand, quartz and calcium carbonate. Therefore we will have to comply with the OSHA silica rule once it is finalized.

What is OSHA proposing?

First, the proposed rule would require employers to conduct exposure assessments for employees potentially exposed to silica. Trained technicians must perform these silica exposure tests, and samples must be submitted to specialized laboratories. These tests can cost companies up to $5,000.

If the tests show that exposures exceed the safe limit established by OSHA, employers would be required to install controls such as closed processing systems, ventilation, special filters, and equipment for wet cutting or grinding. Respirators and dust masks could be used only if needed after the other equipment has been installed.

Why is the rulemaking a problem?

Testing silica exposures can be expensive and the results uncertain. OSHA's hierarchy-of-control requirement can be a challenge for smaller companies. And both testing and control can be less feasible for inconsistent batch operations.  

What is ACMA doing?

ACMA is developing an alternative approach that will allow small compsosites manufacturers to provide adequate employee protection in a way that fits with their financial and technical capabilities.