OSHA’s PEL respirable crystalline silica compliance deadline was introduced on March 25, 2016, and enforced on June 23, 2018, for the maritime and general industries. The purpose of a standard surrounding permissible exposure limits is to hold business owners accountable. Medical surveillance is now required and offered to workers exposed to above the action level for 30 or more days. The action level for employees is exposure to 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air within an 8-hour time average.

Upon understanding the standard (OSHA PEL respirable crystalline silica), it is important to know the requirements for the general and maritime industries. These bulleted points outline specifically what employers should enforce to comply:

  • Employers should determine the activity level that workers are exposed to – 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air within an 8-hour day
  • When discussing specifically respirable crystalline silica, the permissible exposure limit of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air within an 8-hour day is the limit
  • Workers should have limited access to areas where exposure above the PEL could affect them
  • Employers should install dust controls and safer work methods to limit PEL respirable crystalline silica exposure
  • Respirators must be an option that is provided to workers when dust control and safer work methods do not limit the permissible exposure limits
  • Employers should give a written exposure plan that outlines protection measures for employees
  • Employees should have acceptable means for housekeeping practices that are effective, safe, and include a ventilation system
  • Medical examinations will be given for employees exposed to above the action level for 30 or more days a year
  • Employees training on respirable crystalline silica dust and the ways exposure occurs, or the ways they can limit their exposure
  • Employers must keep thorough records of employee’s medical exams

The Impact on the Fracking Industry

The hydraulic fracturing industry has been around since the 1940s, and up until recently very few regulations were in place to ensure the safety of workers. The new regulations are burdensome on hydraulic fracturing companies, regardless of their size. However, these regulations will have a profound medical impact on those currently working in the hydraulic fracturing industry.

If your industry is not complying with the permissible exposure limits, OSHA requires you to install engineering controls to subdue the hazard within facilities. If you are in the fracking industry, your deadline is fast approaching. Dust collectors are the best means for engineering control within industries that produce dust. Industrial Vacuum’s line of dust collectors meets OSHA’s PEL standards and protects your workers from the harm of respirable crystalline silica. Check out our diverse line of dust collection systems in a range of sizes and configurations that meet your industry’s demands. If you have any questions, our team can help. Contact one of our experts today.