Risks is the TUC's weekly newsletter for safety reps and others, sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors.
As the US government’s respirable crystalline silica (RCS) standard takes full effect, its safety regulator OSHA has beefed up its National Emphasis Program (NEP) to ensure compliance with the new, more stringent exposure standard. The new standard, originally introduced in general industry, has also now taken full effect in the maritime and construction industries. The 0.05mg/m3 exposure standard is twice as stringent the current UK standard of 0.1 mg/m3 and six times more protective for the lung-destroying dust disease silicosis (Risks 930). Silica exposure is also linked to lung cancer and lung, kidney and autoimmune diseases and other chronic health conditions. OSHA’s area offices are now tasked with curating a randomised list of employers for targeted inspections. Before initiating programmed inspections in accordance with the NEP, OSHA says it will offer 90 days of compliance assistance for stakeholders affected by the new measures.
OSHA news release and National Emphasis Program. EHS Today.
Biting the dust: HSE defends a silica standard six times more deadly, Hazards, number 148, December 2019.
ACTION: Send an e-postcard to HSE demanding it introduce a more protective UK silica standard no higher than 0.05mg/m³ and with a phased move to 0.025mg/m³. www.hazards.org/HSEstopkillingus.
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