49 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® OCTOBER 2020 Are You in Compliance with OSHA’s Silica Rule? Adapted from Information by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) is offering its member companies and their customers a new resource for staying current on safety requirements regarding OSHA’s (Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s) respirable crys- talline silica standard for construction and general industry. OSHA’s tech and safety department unveiled its new OSHA Silica Rule web page designed to help keep work sites up-to-date on rules and enforcement activities; increase awareness of res- pirable silica safety issues; and provide a comprehensive and centralized source to distribute the information to AEM’s member companies. The OSHA Silica Rule web page provides users with the following information: 2 Brief overview of OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Rule and its requirements; 2 Latest news and updates; 2 Enforcement activities; and 2 Other helpful compliance resources. Crystalline silica is a natural mineral found in soil, sand, and stone consisting of three forms; quartz, cristobalite, and tridymite, which can become respirable when concrete, brick, mortar and other construction materials are chipped, ground, sanded, drilled, or cut. When inhaled, crystalline silica can penetrate deep into the lungs. Continued exposure to respirable crystalline silica can lead to severe health hazards such as silicosis, lung cancer, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and even kidney disease. In March 2016, OSHA published its final rule amending its existing standard for occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The final rule establishes a PEL (permissible exposure limit) for respirable crystalline silica and establishes provisions to protect employees including requirements for exposure control methods, exposure assess- ments, work practice controls, respiratory protection, medical surveil- lance, hazard communication, and record-keeping requirements. Construction employers are required to implement appropriate engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory pro- tections to safeguard employees. For more information, visit: https://www.aem.org/safety-and-technical/regulatory/osha-silica-rule/ C&G Respirable crystalline silica is 100 times smaller than the sand you find at the beach. Photo courtesy of OSHA.