Cal/OSHA Silica Standards – Both New & Old in Effect

Cal/OSHA’s silica in construction standard (Title 8, Section 1532.3) went into effect June, 2017.  However a potentially significant conflict existed for contractors with respect to compliance with the new silica standard and the requirements of Title 8 Section 1530.1 (Control of Employee Exposures from Dust-Generating Operations Conducted on Concrete or Masonry Materials). The masonry cutting standard went into effect in 2008. The old standard allowed the use of local exhaust ventilation to control exposure to silica.  The NEW Standard, however, only allows wet methods of control and no exemptions.  Construction tasks or equipment cited in the new standard does not allow the use of ventilation as required in the old standard.

On May 22, 2018, Cal/OSHA published a Respirable Crystalline Standards – Important Update.  The update states that construction employers covered by section 1530.1 must still comply with the requirements of the standard.  According to Cal/OSHA, the requirements in section 1532.3 are more protective than most of the requirements in section 1530.1. However, employers must still comply with the following requirements in 1530.1

  • Subsection 1530.1(d)(1) requires procedures to ensure that dust reduction systems maintain their effectiveness throughout the work shift. A dust reduction system is defined technology that utilizes the application of water or local exhaust ventilation to reduce airborne dust generated by the use of powered tools or equipment. Local exhaust ventilation may include vacuum systems, dust collection systems, and dust exhaust systems
  • Subsection 1530.1(e) contains additional training topics not included in section 1532.2 for employees and supervisors. Training includes: methods to control exposures; use and maintenance of dust reduction systems; identification of tasks employees will perform which may result in exposure.

Whereas both Cal/OSHA silica standards are in effect, the clarification by Cal/OSHA allows construction employers engaged in concrete or masonry cutting tasks to utilize controls such as ventilation or water whichever may be the most effective in controlling exposure. The Cohen Group can assist is all aspects of your silica compliance program.