Are You Prepared For New Crystalline Silica Standards in Virginia?


What Is Silica?

Silica occurs naturally in the earth’s crust, most often in the form of Quartz, and is present in sand, rocks and stones, bricks and concrete.

silica standars in virginiaMaterials that contain silica are often found on construction sites or used in the construction process. On their own the materials are not dangerous or hazardous unless the silica is disturbed in drilling, grinding, sawing or blasting for example. These activities create crystalline dust particles which contains silica dust that can easily be inhaled.

Crystalline Silica Particles Are Harmful

When inhaled the silica particles can embed deep in the lungs and lead to scarring which makes it more difficult for oxygen to reach the lungs. Exposure to crystalline is so hazardous it can lead to fatal lung diseases including silicosis, lung cancer or kidney disease. Once damage from inhaling silica dust occurs there is no way to reverse it.

In most cases exposure to silica doesn’t produce an immediate injury, like a fall can, so exposure to silica may not become evident for months or even years.

Chronic silicosis is the most common health condition stemming from exposure to silica dust most, the disease occurring often after 10 or more years of exposure to crystalline silica – even when exposure was at low levels.

Silicosis is a progressive disease meaning the effects of the disease continue to worsen, even without additional exposure to crystalline silica.

Crystalline Silica Standards In Virginia

As of June 23rd, the VOSH implemented new regulations for crystalline silica exposure for the construction field. The acceptable levels of exposure are extremely low, recognizing it only takes a very limited amount of crystalline silica dust in the air to cause irreversible health damage.

With these regulation there are many standards that must be followed in order to protect workers and those in the surrounding areas. And training is required for any workers who will wear a respirator, which is necessary for work including sandblasting.

Is your company or construction site following the new standards? Are all your managers, foreman and employees trained and ready to effectively execute these new standards?

Circle Safety & Health Consultant can accurately evaluate your current safety protocols, identify weaknesses and provide the right training. Contact us for more information.

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