‘Crystalline Silica’ Category

Safety Training Resources Monitors OSHA’s LEP on Worksites with Elevated Exposure to Respirable Dust

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

US Labor Department’s OSHA cites Granite and Marble Company for exposing workers to excessive levels of respirable silica, other hazards

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Delta Granite and Marble Inc. with 10 serious and one other-than-serious violation. Proposed penalties total $42,000.

OSHA‘s Region VI Office initiated a health inspection on Feb. 23 at the company’s facility where employees were fabricating marble and granite countertops and associated products. The inspection was part of the agency’s National Emphasis Program for Crystalline Silica, which was developed to reduce occupational exposure to respirable silica.

Serious violations include failing to ensure that airborne levels of crystalline silica met established health standards, to provide an effective hearing conservation program, to ensure employees wore protective footwear, to ensure that appropriate hand protection such as gloves were utilized and to ensure compressed air used for cleaning did not exceed 30 pounds per square inch. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

“Exposure to respirable silica above OSHA‘s established limits can lead to serious long-term health conditions such as silicosis and other pulmonary function disorders,” said Jeff Funke, OSHA‘s Region VI area director.

The other-than-serious violation was cited for failing to ensure that audiograms contained information on employee job classifications. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, approximately 5 million workers are required to wear respirators to protect against harmful particulates, low oxygen areas, vapors, gases, and toxic or hazardous materials. This means that approximately 1.3 million workplaces in the U.S. need to worry about complying with OSHA‘s respiratory protection rule. Is yours one of them?

OSHA’s requirements are clear: Employers must develop an effective respiratory protection program along with training that includes teaching workers when and how to use their respirators.   Missouri employers are often cited for noncompliance with the standard. In addition, OSHA recently amended its PPE and training enforcement practices to allow per-employee citations for violations, which could mean an enormous increase in your potential liability.

Don’t take a chance with employee safety or OSHA penalties.  Contact Safety Training Resources for a free safety consultation.


Safety Training Resources says “enlighten, educate, and empower”…..take a practical approach to implementing and managing your occupational health program for respirable dust.

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Enlightenment…

Crystalline Silica is one of the most abundant minerals found in the earth’s crust. Nearly all industries in our complex civilization use crystalline silica in some way. A background level of respirable silica exists in ambient air. The term “respirable” typically refers to particulates 10 micrometers or less in diameter.

Crystalline silica is one of the most significant health hazards encountered in the minerals industry. The primary health hazard is from the inhalation of respirable silica dust, which may result in silicosis and other occupational lung diseases. In more recent years inhalation of respirable crystalline silica has been identified as a risk factor in the development of lung cancer.

The control of exposures to respirable silica has long been a concern to the occupational health profession, the minerals industry, and the regulatory community (MSHA). The current emphasis and increased enforcement of CFR 56.5002 is meant to hold your company accountable for proper and systematic monitoring of the workplace environment and the respiratory health status of your employees for the purpose of adequately protecting the workforce from the effects of overexposure to respirable crystalline silica.

Educate everyone…


Your company’s safety training program should provide a general review of respiratory health effects and the various routes by which airborne silica can exert its adverse influence on the respiratory system. It should describe the symptoms of overexposure. And finally, your safety training should reference the health risks associated with exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

Workplace dust sampling surveys can be conducted by an industrial hygienist or a non industrial hygienist such as a laboratory technician, quality control analyst, safety officer, or a similar person within the company (Safety Training Resources).

Dust sampling methods are to be both qualitative and quantitative.

While initial dust sampling is used to identify jobs, areas and equipment that may need dust control attention, in most work environments initial dust sampling is rarely sufficient to reliably reflect actual long-term worker exposure. To compensate for variation in dust levels, re-sampling is most always required. Re-sampling is conducted for a variety of reasons, such as gauging the efficiency of dust controls when introduced or modified, documenting the effect of process changes, and as a means to more reliably document worker exposure over time. MSHA has suggested that the minimum standard should be 2 employees being monitored twice per year.

Your company needs to establish dust controls when sampling indicates the need. Commonly applied dust control techniques intended to minimize respirable crystalline silica exposures begin with personal respiratory protection and end with substitution and engineering practices.

Empower with a purpose…

Safety Training Resources is prepared to help your company implement and manage your occupational health program for respirable dust. We have the knowledge and equipment to minimize the risk of overexposure and compliance. Act Now!


Safety Training Resources Offers Guidance to Stone Fabricators

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Safety Training Resources is providing Missouri’s Stone Fabricators with information, guidance and access to training resources that will help them protect employees’ health and safety, particularly in reducing and preventing exposure to silica hazards and addressing safety related hazards in natural stone fabricating businesses, including, but not limited to material handling, with emphasis on slab handling issues. Safety Training Resources provides guidance on safety procedures for personal protective equipment, respiratory protection, hazard communication, slab handling, and OSHA compliance.
Our comprehensive approach to safety is designed to assist stone fabricators and distributors train and educate employees on how to identify and prevent safety and health hazards in your facility. Safety Training Resources will:

  • Conduct a Site Audit and provide a comprehensive Health Report
  • Conduct weekly, quarterly, bi-annual, or annual Safety Meetings outlining Electrical Safety, Hazard Communication, Respiratory Protection, Personal Protective Equipment, and many other general safety topics
  • Conduct Dust and Noise Surveys to help understand hazardous exposure and assist in the elimination of dangerous workplace exposures (ie. silica)
  • Explain OSHA Recordkeeping requirements and assist in implementing recordkeeping procedures

Safety Training Resources is dedicated to helping you better understand the basics of OSHA Compliance for the Natural Stone Industry. Our goal is to keep your employees safe and to insure that your company is better informed on safety and health related issues. Call today for a “free” safety consultation.

Remember, safety is no accident.