Construction sites and factories can pose several risks to employees' health. As a result, you have to take steps to ensure your workers' safety.
Some of those steps include training your employees and creating safety systems. Providing the proper safety equipment is also a step employers take to increase workplace safety.
And speaking of proper safety equipment...
When was the last time you updated your safety equipment to adhere to OSHA silica regulations? If you haven't updated your equipment in a while, you might need to consider investing in a new dust extractor.
Not sure why? Here's everything you need to know about OSHA's new silica standard and the role of dust extractors.
What Is Silica?
Silica is formally known as crystalline silica. It's a commonplace mineral you can find in many materials at construction sites. These materials include:
Silica particles become problematic when workers crush or drill into these materials. As workers crush these materials, they release silica particles into the air.
After those particles enter the air, they make their way into workers' lungs. Once there, they can cause serious respiratory problems.
One such respiratory problem is silicosis. This lung disease is incurable and can even lead to death in some cases.
Silica particles can also cause lung cancer, kidney disease, and obstructive pulmonary disease.
What Is OSHA's Silica Rule?
Because of the severity of silica's effects on workers' health, OSHA has particular silica rules in place. These rules mandate that companies take action to reduce the number of silica particles in the air. They also require that companies have certain particle-filtering machinery on-site.
If, for instance, workers rely on stationary masonry saws, those saws must be equipped with integrated water delivery systems. Handheld power saws, on the other hand, must be equipped with dust collection systems.
And the regulations get even more specific. OSHA even has rules about dust collection systems' efficiency and tool maintenance.
For more information about these regulations, take a look at OHSA's official silica standard.
How Do Dust Extractors Keep Companies Compliant?
Let's get one thing straight:
A dust extractor is NOT a replacement for required safety equipment. You still have to meet OSHA's basic standards.
That said, dust extractors help businesses ensure that work sites' silica levels meet OSHA's standards. They do so by extracting silica particles and other dust from the air. This extraction increases the efficiency of your site's required safety equipment.
But that's not all.
They can also increase work efficiency by cutting down on cleanup time. Not only that, but they increase the quality of employees' work by reducing the amount of dust at workstations.
All in all, dust extractors are great investments that keep companies compliant while providing a host of other great benefits.
Make Sure You Abide By These Silica Regulations
OHSA's silica regulations are strict. For this reason, overlooking even the tiniest detail can be detrimental to your business.
So make sure that you do everything in your power to abide by OSHA's silica rules. Invest in a dust extractor. Double-check that OSHA silica fact sheet.
And, most importantly, go above and beyond to keep your work environment safe. Your business' reputation is riding on your compliance.
Do you need help staying compliant? Contact us for more information on regulations and proper safety equipment.