Respirable Crystalline Silica Physical Exams

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Respirable Crystalline Silica Physical Exams

Health Testing Solutions offers On-Site Mobile Silica Physical Exams to help companies manage required medical surveillance and compliance. OSHA's Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard 29 CFR 1910.1053 (General Industry) & 1926.1153 (Construction) is now enforceable for the Construction Industry and will soon be enforceable for General Industry. 

According to OSHA, Employees who are required to wear respirators must receive medical evaluations required by the Respiratory Protection standard before they are fit tested for a respirator or wear a respirator in the workplace. The medical evaluation for the Respiratory Protection standard can be combined with the medical examination for silica, and employers could have the PLHCP conduct both the evaluation for respirator use and examination for silica at the same time. They could also have employees evaluated for respirator use before they wear a respirator and then offer the silica examination later, according to the required time limits of the silica standard.

Also note that under the Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134), employers are required to provide another medical evaluation if employees report medical signs or symptoms related to the ability to wear a respirator.

Source: https://www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/silicacrystalline/

OSHA Enforcement of Respirable Crystalline Silica in Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Because controls for respirable crystalline silica in hydraulic fracturing are still in development, the rule allows hydraulic fracturing employers additional time to implement engineering controls to take advantage of emerging technologies. Those employers do not have to implement engineering controls to limit exposures to the new PEL until June 23, 2021, three years later than other general industry and maritime employers. From June 23, 2018 to June 23, 2021, hydraulic fracturing employers can continue to have employees use respirators when exposures exceed the PEL.

OSHA Enforcement of Respirable Crystalline Silica in General Industry and Maritime 

For all operations in general industry and maritime, other than hydraulic fracturing operations in the oil and gas industry employers are required to:

  • Comply with all obligations of the standard, with the exception of the action level trigger for medical surveillance, by June 23, 2018.
  • Offer medical examinations to employees exposed above the PEL for 30 or more days a year beginning on June 23, 2018.
  • Offer medical examinations to employees exposed at or above the action level for 30 or more days a year beginning on June 23, 2020.

For hydraulic fracturing operations in the oil and gas industry employers are required to:

  • Comply with all obligations of the standard, except for engineering controls and the action level trigger for medical surveillance, by June 23, 2018.
  • Comply with requirements for engineering controls to limit exposures to the new PEL by June 23, 2021. From June 23, 2018 through June 23, 2021, employers can Continue to have employees wear respirators if their exposures exceed the PEL.
  • Offer medical examinations to employees exposed above the PEL for 30 or more days beginning on June 23, 2018.
  • Offer medical examinations to employees exposed at or above the action level for 30 or more days a year beginning on June 23, 2020.