This guide is intended as a resource to assist employers, who have processes and operations that expose employees to respirable crystalline silica, in developing their own program aimed at reducing the risk of silicosis, a disabling and potentially fatal occupational lung disease.  According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) website, at least 1.7 million U.S. workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in a variety of industries and occupations, including construction, sandblasting, and mining (NIOSH, 2016).

In 1996, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) initiated a Special Emphasis Program (SEP) for silicosis, which provided guidance for targeting inspections of work sites with employees at risk of developing silicosis.  In January of 2008, OSHA established a National Emphasis Program (NEP) that expanded and built upon the 1996 SEP.  In August of 2013, OSHA announced their proposed Silica standard for General Industry and Construction.  In March of 2016, the Final Ruling was published, with an effective date of June 23, 2016.

This kit addresses the OSHA General Industry/Maritime silica standard (hereinafter, General Industry Standard) and the OSHA Construction silica standard (hereinafter, Construction Standard) and related guidance for employers with silica exposures. Copies of both standards are included in this kit.  References to the “Silica Standards” encompass the silica standards common to both the General Industry Standards and the Construction Standards.  This kit also contains information on the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) standard as well as the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH®) Threshold Limit Values (TLVs®) for crystalline silica.

The remainder of the kit contains guidelines that employers can use as a resource to help them set up and implementing a Silica Control Program.  Although compliance with the Silica Standards is important, the principal goal of any Silica Control Program developed should be to reduce and control exposures to crystalline silica, and therefore reduce the risk of workers developing silicosis.

The sample Silica Control Program (Sample Program) outlined in this kit is a generic, hypothetical program.

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