What is 'Table 1' and why is it so important?
For more than 40 years, we’ve been aware that exposure to crystalline silica dust can cause serious health problems for workers across several industries. Since silica is naturally occurring and found in everything from concrete and pottery to sand and stone, it presents unique challenges when it comes to protecting workers.
OSHA has recently updated the rules and regulations regarding silica. Part of that update has been the introduction of Table 1: Specified Exposure Control Methods When Working with Materials Containing Crystalline Silica.
Table 1 lists 18 construction tasks that tend to create high levels of silica dust and suggests methods for limiting the amount of dust they produce by making adjustments to work practices. Table 1 also specifies when personal protective equipment (PPE) should be used. The suggested methods outlined in Table 1 should be followed regardless of the measured levels of respirable crystalline silica at the worksite. There are different guidelines based on the number of hours spent performing the task (less than four or more than four hours) and some suggestions are as simple as watering down the work area.
OSHA created Table 1 to provide additional guidance for companies to aid in compliance with the new rules and protect employees from unnecessary or excessive exposure to silica dust. At the end of the day, it's in everybody's best interest to consult it and do what we can to keep workers safe and healthy.
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