OSHA’s new silica dust exposure standard went into effect September 23rd last year, but the agency delayed enforcement until Oct. 23 to give employers more time to comply. This is the first update to the silica standard since the first one was established in 1971, the same year OSHA was formed.
Silica dust particles are 100 times smaller than sand granules, and those who breathe in too much can develop illnesses like the incurable and potentially fatal lung disease silicosis, lung cancer, kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Respiratory Protection was the 4th most cited OSHA fine last year
Those employers not in compliance with the new rule could be hit with an OSHA fine of $12,675 for a serious or other-than-serious violation; $12,675 per day past the abatement date for a failure-to-abate violation and $126,749 for a repeated or willful violation. One organization was fined over $500,000 for non compliance.
OSHA CFR 1910.134 (f) (2)
“The employer shall ensure that an employee using a tight-fitting face piece respirator is fit tested prior to initial use of the respirator, whenever a different respirator face piece (size, style, model or make) is used, and at least annually thereafter”.