The industrial sector has made huge strides in improving workplace safety for employees. But even with new regulations and standards in place, employers and staff members have a big part to play in ensuring the safety of the entire team.
Now that it’s June, which has been designated as National Safety Month by the National Safety Council, we felt it was the perfect time to review important OSHA standards and protective products for those in the industrial space.
Understanding the New OSHA Silica Enforcement
While the industrial sector has been working hard to reduce silica dust exposure for years, OSHA has recently come up with new enforcement updates to support this mission. Exposure to silica dust has long been known to cause respiratory illnesses including cancer, so it’s crucial to minimize risk.
OSHA’s final rule contains two standards, one for the Construction sector and one for General Industry and Maritime. Though the Construction enforcement was originally set to begin this month, it has been pushed back to September 23, 2017 to allow for additional outreach and education. The General Industry and Maritime enforcement is set to begin June 23, 2018.
The new rule will decrease the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) of silica dust to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air. It will also require employers to limit exposure through water and ventilation and by providing respirators when necessary. Medical exams will also be provided to workers who are highly exposed to provide a better understanding of their health and risk for developing related diseases. Training will also be a major component of the new plan.
Products Designed to Protect Workers
Silica dust is one of many hazards in the workplace. Loud noises, sharp objects, flying debris, and caustic substances are all relatively common at a job site. Protect workers with products designed for these types of situations.
Breathing protection equipment like face masks are important for workers who may be exposed to dust and particulates. This goes beyond protection from silica dust, as many materials can result in harm if inhaled. There are different types of respirators and masks to serve different applications, so find the right type of respirator or mask for your job.
Hearing protection products in the form of earplugs will help workers who are exposed to loud noises as part of their job. Heavy equipment operators will likely need some form of protection to prevent hearing loss in the long term.
Just about any industrial professional can benefit from wearing gloves. Whether protecting your hands from heat and sparks during welding, sharp splinters from handling lumbar, or corrosive chemical substances – your hands are your greatest tool, so make sure they’re covered with the right type of gloves.
You can’t work safely if you can’t see what you’re doing. That’s why proper eyewear is important – it shields your eyes from shrapnel, dust, and other irritants that may impact your vision or cause injury. Look for safety glasses that fit your face so you won’t have to keep readjusting them, and then consider lens cleaners to keep them free from smudges.
By providing workers with proper protective equipment, employers are better able to deliver a safe workplace for employees. It also helps job sites conform to current OSHA standards of safety. While June is the perfect time to highlight this goal, safety is an issue that must be addressed year-round. For more information on products and services that align with your safety plan, feel free to reach out to United Surface Preparation at 1-800-322-1413.