Remodeling writer Helena Okolicsanyi reports on the filing ruling regarding silica dust exposure, which was announced earlier this week by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The BUILDER sister publication sates that exposure to silica dust can lead to lung cancer, silicosis, chronic pulmonary disease, and kidney disease, making the need for protection for contractors on the job site a necessity.
The ruling will limit the exposure of contractors to the dust to 50 micrograms per cubic meter per eight-hour work shift, which is an 80% reduction from the previous allowance of 250 micrograms of silica exposure. The ruling will also regulate respiratory safety devices required by workers, and employers will be required to provide medical examinations for highly exposed workers. Employers will have until June 23, 2017 to comply with the new requirements if they are covered by the construction standard.
Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez in a press release cited the new ruling as something that will save lives and “enable workers to earn a living without sacrificing their health.” The Department of Labor estimates that the new ruling will save roughly 600 lives annually and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis, an incurable disease caused by exposure to silica dust.