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OSHA announces new regulations regarding silica dust

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a new rule on March 24, 2016 aimed at limiting the amount of silica dust that laborers inhale on the job. Some 2.3 million people are estimated to be exposed to silica at work, primarily in the construction industry but also in the oilfield, where silica sand is used as a component in fracking.

Silica exposure can cause silicosis, an incurable disease that amounts to slowly suffocating over time. Federal officials said the new regulations would save 600 lives annually, prevent 900 new cases of silicosis and cut $7.7 billion in health care costs. 

The rule caps the silica exposure limit at 50 micrograms per cubic foot over an average eight hour shift.

The standard will go into effect for the construction industry in June of 2017. Oilfield requirements will be phased in by June of 2018, with extra time given to the industry to develop engineering controls.*

*One of these “engineering controls” mentioned above will be the PropX delivery system which dramatically reduces dust generated during sand transfer

Find the link to the OSHA release here