Friday, March 09, 2018

OSHA's Silica Standard - What's All The Fuss About? Part Two

In our previous post, we discussed that as long as you were performing tasks that were listed in Table 1 of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Respirable Crystalline Silica 1926.1153 standard we didn't see what all the fuss was about.  Even if some tasks required a respirator some of those tasks would allow you to use an administrative control (have the worker do the task for 4 hours or less) to eliminate the respirator requirement.  The fuss is all about those tasks that do not eliminate respirator usage (i.e, Task (x) Jackhammers and handheld powered chipping tools with a water delivery system at the point of impact, used indoors or in an enclosed area) in Table 1 or a task not listed in Table 1.  We already discussed the requirements, if Table 1 requires a respirator in Part One of this blog.  So the question is what is required if your task is not listed in Table 1 or you can't fully & properly implement the engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection described in Table 1?  Well that's a long story and that's what all the fuss is all about!

Mr. Peter Delucia's Silica Presentation at the PACNY Conference
Before we get into this long story, we would like to thank Mr. Peter Delucia, of AAC Contracting, for his assistance in helping us write this blog post.  Mr. Delucia's presentation at the Professional Abatement Contractors of New York (PACNY) 22nd Annual Environmental Conference was jam packed with examples, references, and information out in the internet to assist employers wanting to comply with this standard.  Much of that information helped us write this post.

If you can't use Table 1 (the above video would be a Table 1 activity), then you have to use an alternative exposure control method (d).  Which first requires that no employee be exposed to an airborne concentration of respirable crystalline silica ( silica) in excess of 50 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3), calculated as an 8-hour Time Weighted Average (TWA).  Second employers must perform an exposure assessment (d)(2)(i) for each employee who is or may reasonably be expected to be exposed to silica at or above the action level (25 ug/m3).  Here you have two choices either the performance option (d)(2)(ii) or scheduled monitoring option (d)(2)(iii).  The performance option allows combination of air monitoring or objective data that is sufficient to accurately characterize employee exposures to silica. The performance option can be almost like Table 1 in that the employer can use objective data that is created by others to determine employee exposures to silica.  Some manufacturers are creating objective data for their tools (i.e., Milwaukee Tool, which has some objective data information for some of their tools and shrouds).  You can use these by just following the instructions on the objective data and making sure you meet the conditions listed in objective data.  The second choice is to perform initial monitoring (scheduled monitoring) to assess the 8-hour TWA exposures for each employee on the basis of one or more personal breathing zone air samples that reflect the exposures of employees on each shift, for each job classification, in each work area.  Which means you need to have the personal air sampling equipment and a laboratory for analysis of your air samples.  This is a little complicated and because most people are unfamiliar with how to do personal air sampling, this can be quite intimidating!

However, with the proper training (we do a respirable crystalline silica competent person course) and a good laboratory to support your efforts the competent person could perform the sampling necessary to meet the OSHA requirements.  There is some basic equipment that is needed to do sampling (as you can see from the video above).  One of the most important pieces is the personal air sampling pump.  These pumps are portable and are usually worn on the waist of the person you want to determine their exposure.  There are quite a few manufacturers of these pumps (Sensidyne, maker of Gillian sample pumps & SKC, maker of Universal sample pumps, etc.).  You want these pumps to be durable and be able to handle a drop here and there.  Purchasing these pumps is not a bad idea but before you consider doing that we need to remind you that these pumps need to be calibrated against a primary standard at least every three months.  Primary standards are not cheap (Buck Calibrator & Gilibrator, etc).  So unfortunately, its not that easy to buy the pumps and use them.  If you don't intend on using these pumps regularly a better choice would be to rent the pumps from a laboratory.  Then have the laboratory maintain and calibrate the pumps when they send them to you.  This also allows for billing the equipment to specific projects.  There are quite a few labs that can help you in that way (SGS Galson & EMSL, etc.).  This way you can tell them what you are sampling and they will send you the equipment and sampling media you need for doing the sampling and incorporate the analysis price for the whole exposure assessment.  They will also send you instructions on using the equipment properly, sample & chain of custody forms for doing the sampling, as needed. The samplers for silica are pictured below and you will want to use either one of these samplers.  The standard then goes into how often you will need to do scheduled monitoring based on the results, employee notification of results, and observation of monitoring results.

Personal Pump with PPI sampler for silica
Breathing zone sampling with aluminum cyclone sampler for silica

Once you have determined which method you are using (Exposure Assessments, or Scheduled monitoring), the employer must have a written exposure control plan.  The plan must cover the tasks in the workplace; a description of engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection used to limit exposure; housekeeping measures used to limit exposure; and procedures to restrict access.  The employer must update the plan at least annually and designate a competent person to make frequent and regular inspections of job sites, materials, & equipment to implement the plan.   The final step is to train the workers and the competent person on the exposure control plan so everyone understands and knows what is required under the plan.  Again, we have added a number of courses to our schedule or contact us here if you need us to work with you in developing your exposure control plan or exposure monitoring plan to help you keep your employees safe!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

13 Days Till PACNY's 22nd Annual Environmental Conference!

Here we are again!  The Professional Abatement Contractors of New York's (PACNY's) 22nd Annual Environmental Conference is 13 days away.  As usual, we are excited for the conference and looking forward to going to Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York to hear some presentations, gamble a bit, and enjoy some great networking.  We are sponsoring the conference, again.  So come visit Future Environment Design's (FEDTC) at booth 18!  Ms. Sheryl Esposito will be womaning the booth!  As we have done in the past, we will be tweeting the conference live at with the hastag #FEDTCPACNY on Twitter.  There are some exciting presentations we look forward to hearing, this year!

Long Island is Usually Represented by Some Entertaining Characters! 
Linda Reinstein, President & Co-Founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and the Global Ban Asbestos Network, presentation on Thursday, March 1, 2018, is the keynote speaker.  She is inspiring and we are looking forward to hearing an update about the ban of asbestos under the current administration.  Mr. James Meacham, of the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL), presentation on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, "Solving the Mystery of the ACB" sounds intriguing.  Considering all the problems we have experienced on Long Island (Clemente Park & Dix Hills) with the dumping of asbestos and other hazardous materials, Richard Clarkson, of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), presentation on Thursday, March 1, 2018, on "Part 360 Revisions and Solid Waste Regulations" should be very interesting!  On the same day, Mr. Adam Andrews, of the American Council of Accredited Certifications (ACAC), presentation on "The Advantages of Certification for Indoor Air Quality" will give us a different perspective.  Mr. Bob Krell of IAQ Technologies and Healthy Indoors Magazine, presentation "Avoiding Potential Pitfalls of Mold Investigations and Remediation Projects" will close out Thursday.  Leading us into the cocktail reception in the exhibitor hall.

Cocktail Reception in the Exhibitor Hall
The final day of the conference typically starts with a presentation before NYSDOL's panel and round table discussion.  This year, we are looking forward to hearing AAC's Peter DeLucia's presentation on "Managing the Many Facets of the Silica in the Construction Standard".  It will be interesting to hear how a contractor is dealing with this new standard that went into effect in September 2017.  The conference will close out with the Panel from the NYSDOL featuring Dr, Eileen Franco, Director; Mr. James Meacham, PE, Program Manager; Ed Smith, PE, Engineering Services Unit; & Mr. Kirk Fisher, Licensing & Certification Unit.  They will be giving us an update on what they are doing and an opportunity to ask questions.  If you wish to attend you can register for the conference at PACNY's website.  We look forward to seeing you there.  It always a good time!

Yes it is!

Friday, January 12, 2018

OSHA Recordkeeping Webinar To Discuss Posting Requirements For 300A Form & Filing It Electronically!

On February 1, 2018, covered employers are required to post the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) 300A form.  To help you with this process Future Environment Designs and Keevily Spero & Whitelaw, an insurance services company, will be holding a webinar on the OSHA Recordkeeping requirements, click here to register for the webinar.  The 300A form summarizes the injury and illness information that was kept on the OSHA 300 log form.  Covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses that occur at a workplace on the OSHA 300 log form.  At the end of the year, covered employers are required to tally the totals on each column and enter the totals on the OSHA 300A form.  The information should be used by employers to evaluate safety in the workplace and determine ways to eliminate or reduce hazards in the workplace.  OSHA's 300A form is required to be posted until April 30, 2018 and must be retained for 5 years.  During the retention period you are required to update the log to add new information regarding the occupational injuries and illnesses recorded on it.  OSHA has brief tutorial to help you complete the forms.

OSHA 300 Form
A final rule was issued and went into effect on January 1, 2017, requiring certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data to OSHA.  OSHA has provided an online secure website (click here for the website) for submitting this information. You must submit this information by July 1, 2018.  If you meet the following criteria you DO NOT have to electronically submit your 300A information to OSHA:
  • The establishment's peak employment during the previous calendar year was 19 or fewer, regardless of the establishment's industry.
  • The establishment's industry is on this list, regardless of the size of establishment.
  • The establishment had a peak employment between 20 and 249 employees during previous calendar year and the establishment's industry is not on this list.
  • Establishments under jurisdiction of these State Plan states do not currently have to electronically submit to OSHA: California, MarylandMinnesotaSouth CarolinaUtahWashington, and Wyoming.
300A Form Must Posted By February 1, 2018
A different rule which went into effect January 1, 2015, changed the list of employers partially exempt from the above recordkeeping requirements.  The revised list uses the new method of classification of industries, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).  The partially exempt industry list includes: architectural, engineering, & related services; legal services; & drinking places (really!!!), as examples.  For the full list of exempt industries visit OSHA's website on recordkeeping.  In addition, to new exempt industries there are industries that have to start keeping records.  These industries include:  automotive dealers, building material & supplies dealers, & activities related to real estate, for example.  Find the industries that have to start keeping records here.  
Logo for NAICS (North American Industry Classi...
Logo for NAICS (North American Industry Classification System), a system used by the U.S. Census Bureau and others. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, this does not exempt these industries or covered industries from reporting to OSHA, within 8 hours, any work-related fatality and reporting work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, or losses of an eye within 24 hours.  This new reporting requirement was also part of the changes that went into effect on January 1, 2015.  Employers can report these events by telephone to the nearest OSHA Area office during normal business hours, or the 24-hour OSHA hotline 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), or electronically through a new tool which is being developed, look for it here.   Should you need any assistance with these requirements contact Future Environment Designs.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

OSHA's Silica Standard - What's All The Fuss About? Part One

Happy New Year!  May your New Year be healthy, profitable, & peaceful!  This blog post we will talk about the silica regulation and what the fuss is all about.  We've heard from some of our clients that they are concerned that the regulation is like the asbestos regulation.  Well in reality the regulation is more like the lead regulation than the asbestos regulation.  The big drop in the permissible exposure limit makes it similar to the asbestos regulation in that visible dust exposures may result in violations, but that's where it ends for similarity.  Table 1 of the silica standard is similar to the 1926.62 (d) (2) of the lead standard which is Protection of Employees During Assessment of Exposure.  Where based on a certain task (i.e., scrapping lead paint) the employer must comply with all parts of the standard, including the use of respirators.  Table 1 in a sense has a similar requirements.
Spraying Water to Keep Dust Levels Down Will Become Common Place
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released the final rule for respirable crystalline silica 1926.1153 on March 25, 2016 with compliance dates more than one year past the publication date.  Giving the various industries regulated by the standard plenty of time to comply.  In fact, the construction industry was the first industry required to comply by June 23, 2017, however, the current administration delayed the standard until September 23, 2017 giving the construction industry additional time to comply.  In addition, OSHA's silica website is quite robust with guidance documents in helping the industry comply.  With all this time to comply, including challenges to the standard that the courts eliminated, and equipment manufacturers having time to review Table 1 of the standard, complying with the standard is pretty straightforward if you are performing any of 18 tasks in Table 1.

Table 1 tasks involve exposures to respirable crystalline silica when the following tools are used on concrete, brick, block, stone, mortar, and other materials that contain crystalline silica:
  • Stationary masonry saws;
  • Handheld power saws;
  • Handheld power saws for cutting fiber-cement board;
  • Walk-behind saws;
  • Drivable saws;
  • Rig-mounted core saws or drills;
  • Handheld and stand-mounted drills (including impact and rotary hammer drills);
  • Dowel drilling rigs;
  • Vehicle-mounted drilling rigs;
  • Jackhammers and handheld powered chipping tools;
  • Handheld grinders for mortar removal (i.e., tuckpointing);
  • Handheld grinders for uses other than mortar removal;
  • Walk-behind milling machines and floor grinders;
  • Small drivable milling machines;
  • Large drivable milling machines;
  • Crushing machines; and
  • Heavy equipment and utility vehicles when used to abrade or fracture silica containing materials (i.e., hoe-ramming or rock ripping) or used during demolition activities; and 
  • Heavy equipment and utility vehicles when used for tasks such as grading and excavating.
Doing tasks in this manner, we hope will be a thing of the past!
If your work involves Table 1 tasks then determine how long your workers do those tasks and follow the requirements.  If the requirements require a respirator then you may want to reduce the time period a worker does a task so a respirator is not required.  This would be considered an administrative control under hierarchy of controls and perfectly acceptable.  Once you have determined the tasks, the controls, and time periods, the next step is to write your exposure control plan.  The exposure control plan details the tasks, controls, and time periods/respirator requirements and designating a competent person to ensure the exposure control plan is enforced.  The final step is to train the workers and the competent person on the exposure control plan so everyone understands and knows what is required under the plan.

Wearing A Respirator, Adds Significant Costs for Silica Projects

If your exposure control plan requires respirator, then you must meet the requirements of the respirator standard 1910.134, see our blog post regarding the directive which tells you how this standard would be enforced.  This standard would require a medical evaluation of workers to ensure they can wear a respirator, annual respirator fit testing, and annual training on the use of the respirator.  Respirator standard would also require a written program and the designation of a competent person to administer the written program.  In addition, the silica standard would require you provide a medical exam, specifically for silica, if workers use respirators for 30 days or more in a calendar year.  This medical would be required every 3 years.  The medical must include:
  •  medical & work history; 
  • chest x-ray;
  • pulmonary function test; 
  • physical exam focused on the respiratory system; and
  • testing for latent tuberculosis infection.  
After all of the above, the final steps in compliance is maintaining the records, in accordance with 1910.1020, and updating the plans on an annual basis.  1910.1020 standard requires that exposure records be maintained for 30 years from the date of creation and medical records be maintained for duration of employment plus 30 years. 
More Projects Will Look Something Like This
Based on the above information, we think it is pretty obvious that you want to eliminate tasks that involve the use of respirators or reduce the amount time a worker does a task that might require a respirator.  Doing so eliminates the need for the silica medical exam and all the requirements under the respirator standard.  The long term costs involved with meeting the requirements for using a respirator (silica medical exam & respirator standard requirements), we think would outweigh the cost of improving equipment used by workers to meet the requirements of Table 1 for each of the tasks.  We have added some silica courses to our schedule to help you comply with the new standard.  Visit our website for more information.  Happy New Year and Be Safe!  

Monday, December 11, 2017

LITE 2017 Is All About The Fundamentals, Future Environment Designs Develops An Online Course!

Future Environment Designs (FEDTC) would like to wish all of you a Merry Holiday and a Happy New Year!  We look forward to seeing all of you in the New Year.  In September, FEDTC attended the 2017 Leadership, Innovation, Technology, & Evolution (#LITE2017) annual conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.  We attended last year's #LITE2016 conference and wrote about our experience (see Future Environment Designs Attends the LITE 2016 Conference & Is Inspired!).  The conference is run by Administrate, which is the company now handling our training and customer administration.  As many of you know, we use Administrate to provide you digital access to our course manual.  Because of the information we learned this year, you now have access to the exam review slides we use in our classes.  We now offer a few Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) courses online (i.e., respirator users and asbestos awareness) and on adding more.  What attracted us to the LITE conference this year was our desire to delve deeper into the Administrate program and to learn best practices in managing our business.  This year the conference exceeded those goals.  This year there weren't as many inspiring speakers, but many of the speakers gave us fundamental knowledge of the Administrate program and its capabilities.

View from Administrate's Offices
Like last year, the conference followed two tracks Evolution and Innovation, which we mixed and matched the various presentations throughout both days.  All the presentations from the conference can be seen at Administrate's website.  It started with opening remarks from John Peebles the CEO of Administrate, filling us in on Administrate's growth in the United States (based out of Bozeman, Montana) and in the Middle East (based out of Beirut, Lebanon).  Followed by Mike McGrail (@Mike_McGrail, formerly of Administrate and now with Velocity Digital, no kilt this time), speaking on "Busting Modern Marketing Myths".  We then listened to Simon Greany, of Elucidat, discuss "Big Learning: 4 Strategies to Help You Unlock New Revenue Streams with Digital Learning."

Natasha Serafimovska Presentation on Financial Reporting
Many of the presentations afterwards were delving into the inner workings of  the Administrate programs.  These presentations helped us get the best out of the program or gave us ideas of how to improve the information we get from the program.  For example, the presentation by Siobhain Murdoch and our Account Rep Natasha Serafimovska, both from Administrate, discussed "Common Course Pricing Strategies for Training Companies."  From their presentation we learned about creating subscriptions, how training tokens work and how to offer them.   Siobhain Murdoch then joined together with Loki Lau, of Administrate, to discuss "A Deep Dive Into Course Templates," which taught us how to improve the course templates and in particular adding photos to the templates.  Gilles Bell's, of Administrate, presentation on "How to Communicate More Effectively With Students and Customers" provided some ideas we will be implementing with our communications moving forward (first changes will be with the Safety Suzy Newsletter coming out before the end of this month).  The second day started with a 1-2-1 session with our Account Rep Natasha Serafimovska to help us better understand the program and create several reports.  Mark Mullen & Jesse Vernon, both of Administrate, discussed "How to Improve Instructor Led Training (ILT) with eLearning" which made us realize we can significantly improve the materials we are providing you online. 

Ryan Cochrane's presentation on Creating Content That Converts to Leads
Based on the information we learned we have already made several improvements.  For all asbestos refresher courses the manual is online as many of you know already.  In addition, the review for all the asbestos refresher exams is now online, too.  We've created our first online course the respirator user course.  This course is required annually by anyone who uses a respirator.  This will allow you to take the respirator user course "At Your Convenience."  We plan on adding more courses and creating a separate landing page for the "Training At Your Convenience" service, that will include all the different ways we can train your employees, conveniently.  These improvements will help FEDTC continue to improve and offer more ways in meeting our goal of Keeping Your Employees Safe!