Huntington Beach, CA, April 25th, 2019
In late 2018, a new study was published in the Annals of Work Exposures and Health that examined construction workers’ exposure to silica dust. “Characterization of Occupational Exposures to Respirable Silica and Dust in Demolition, Crushing, and Chipping Activities” looked at these potential inhalation hazards at construction sites in Massachusetts. Researchers found that some workers may be exposed to more than 10 times the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) to silica dust.
Although this study took place on the East Coast, it is a good reminder of potential airborne hazards for construction workers in California and the rest of the United States. To address this occupational exposure risk, Cal/OSHA began enforcing employer obligations under the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction, found in Title 8 section 1532.3 of the California Code of Regulations in 2017. This was the same year that federal OSHA began enforcement of their corresponding standard across other parts of the United States.
The new standard was issued to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and kidney disease in construction workers by limiting their exposure to this known respirable hazard. It reduced the PEL for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift.
“Occupational exposure to crystalline silica can take place during workplace operations that involve cutting, sawing, drilling and crushing of concrete, brick, block, rock and stone products,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager of LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “Processes historically associated with high rates of silicosis include sandblasting, sand-casting foundry operations, mining, tunneling, cement cutting and demolition, masonry work and granite cutting.”
The professionals at LA Testing offer both industrial hygiene and environmental analysis of crystalline silica and other airborne hazards. They provide all of the sampling supplies necessary to collect samples, offer real-time air monitoring instruments, and stock a comprehensive line of respirators and other personal protective equipment (PPE). The laboratory has also sponsored an educational video about crystalline silica and respirable exposures in the construction industry that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/YTwQiEgWLfw.
To learn more about this or other industrial hygiene, occupational, environmental or air quality testing services, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro and San Diego.