Did you buy anything to bring your masonry work in compliance with OSHA’s respirable silica rules?
If you don’t know what this means, and work with concrete, bricks, or any other masonry or similar materials that contain crystalline silica, here are some links to look over:
The standard, which went into effect on September 23rd, says:
This section means this respirable crystalline silica standard, 29 CFR 1926.1153. (c) Specified exposure control methods. (1) For each employee engaged in a task identified on Table 1, the employer shall fully and properly implement the engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection specified for the task on Table 1, unless the employer assesses and limits the exposure of the employee to respirable crystalline silica in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section.
Most employers and workers will likely opt to adhere to Table 1 guidelines rather than go through the process or measuring and assessing the exposure levels.
That’s why you’ll see “Table 1 complaint” mentioned in product descriptions, fact sheets, and informational flyers.
But for those who have the means and interest in measuring silica exposure, there are additional products that might be suitable despite not being Table 1 compliant.
Here are some product and compliance guides that you might find helpful:
Even if your work doesn’t fall under OSHA safety oversight, you should still consider following the guidelines in order to protect yourself from respirable silica hazards. Human lungs are not meant to deal with silica.
In order to be compliant – or safe – you general need your tool – and chances are you won’t need to buy a new one – a compatible shroud or accessory, and a good vacuum or dust extractor. Some tasks require HEPA-rated filtration.
Table 1 spells out exactly what you need.
For example, for a handheld drill or rotary hammer (vii) when working with materials containing crystalline silica:
Use drill equipped with commercially available shroud or cowling with dust collection system.
Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions to minimize dust emissions.
Dust collector must provide the air flow recommended by the tool manufacturer, or greater, and have a filter with 99% or greater efficiency and a filter-cleaning mechanism.
Use a HEPA-filtered vacuum when cleaning holes.
Table 1 also provides guidelines for minimum respiratory protection.
NOTE: I’m not a safety expert – all information here is for convenience and not safety or medical reference.
I have not really heard from anyone about the new OSHA guidelines and Table 1 compliance requirements. I’ve heard a lot from tool brands, but not professional users. These questions are some of the things I’ve been wondering about and hoping to see your thoughts on.
1) Did you know about all this already, or at least in some capacity, or is it completely new to you?
2) To you believe yourself to be in compliant with Table 1?
3) If not, why not?
4) What did you buy?
5) What will you buy?
6) Do you think that tool brands and retailers have done enough to inform you of the new OSHA silica rules?
7) Will you attempt to adhere to OSHA guidelines?
8) If not, why not?
The biggest expense will likely be a suitable dust extractor vacuum. Here are some options:
These links are to Amazon, except for the DWV010, which links to an Acme Tools listing. With it being priced at $350, a lot lower than other vacs, it’s unsurprisingly sold out at Amazon and backordered at Acme Tool, with an Oct 30th ETA.
I realize that there might be some strong opinions. All opinions are welcome, and I remind everyone to please be polite and steer clear of politics.