Silica dust standard likely here to stay

By Mike Bales

Since the new Respirable Silica Dust Standard went into effect on September 23, 2017, an industry coalition (including ABC National) had already been developed with the intent to challenge OSHA and the new standard. Their efforts were focused on several topics; challenging that OSHA lacked enough evidence to prove that that there was a significant risk of silica disease at 50 μg/m3, and that the standard was technologically and economically infeasible. On Friday, December 22, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals made a final decision to reject all of the industry’s arguments regarding the new standard.

What does that mean for all of us in construction? For those companies riding the fence, waiting to see if there would be changes to the standard, it seems the wait is over. The silica standard -- as it went into effect -- is here to stay.

Not everyone waited until the dust settled (pun intended). To date, ABC of Wisconsin has trained over 1000 employees on the expectations of the new Silica standard, including how to perform as the Competent Person. We have completed silica monitoring for several members on many different tasks, and helped numerous others develop and implement internal programs and policies. Don’t wait until OSHA is at your door asking about silica. Contact ABC of Wisconsin today and take advantage of the many silica-related services we are offering our members.  

Mike is one of four ABC of Wisconsin Safety Managers. He can be reached at mbales@abcwi.org or 608.244.5883.