Silica Safety and OSHA Compliance for Monument Companies
OSHA Housekeeping Activities for Silica Safety
Good housekeeping is an important part of a silica exposure control plan. OSHA's respirable crystalline silica standard for the construction industry - 29 CFR 1926.1153 - paragraph (f) states:
"(1) The employer shall not allow dry sweeping or dry brushing where such activity could contribute to employee exposure to respirable crystalline silica unless wet sweeping, HEPA-filtered vacuuming or other methods that minimize the likelihood of exposure are not feasible.
(2) The employer shall not allow compressed air to be used to clean clothing or surfaces where such activity could contribute to employee exposure to respirable crystalline silica unless:
(i) The compressed air is used in conjunction with a ventilation system that effectively captures the dust cloud created by the compressed air; or
(ii) No alternative method is feasible."
There are several steps that can be taken to ensure dust on surfaces or collected in vacuums does not become airborne:
- Use wet methods, such as a water spray on the dust source, wet mopping or wiping, (non-silica containing) sweeping compounds, or vacuums with HEPA filters to remove dust from floors and surfaces
- Keep bags and other containers of silica-containing waste tightly closed to prevent the dust from escaping and becoming airborne
- Provide employees with a place to wash up close to the worksite (as required by OSHA 29 CFR 1926.51(f)(l))
- Provide employees with access to vacuums with HEPA filters so that they can safely remove dust from their work clothes before going home.
- Dry sweep or dry dust to clean up
- Use compressed air to blow the dust away from surfaces or remove dust from clothing
- Empty bags or containers of silica-containing waste into other containers – once a container with silica-waste is closed – keep it closed.
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