OSHA’s Crystalline Silica Rule

OSHA Crystalline Silica RuleThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America’s workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica. According to OSHA, about 2.3 million workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in their workplaces, including 2 million construction workers who drill, cut, crush, or grind silica-containing materials such as concrete and stone. OSHA estimates that more than 840,000 of these workers are exposed to silica levels that exceed the new permissible exposure limit (PEL).

Key Provisions

  • Reduces the PEL for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift.
  • Requires employers to: use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) to limit worker exposure to the PEL; provide respirators when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure; limit worker access to high exposure areas; develop a written exposure control plan, offer medical exams to highly exposed workers, and train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures.
  • Provides medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers and gives them information about their lung health.
  • Provides flexibility to help employers — especially small businesses — protect workers from silica exposure.

See OSHA’s Fact Sheet –>

Table 1: OSHA Specified Crystalline Silica Exposure Control Methods

Equipment/Task Engineering and Work Practice Control Methods
(xii) Handheld grinders for uses other than mortar removal
  • Use grinder equipped with commercially available shroud and dust collection system.
  • Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions to minimize dust emissions.
  • Dust collector must provide 25 cubic feet per minute (cfm) or greater of airflow per inch of wheel diameter and have a filter with 99% or greater efficiency and a cyclonic pre-separator or filter-cleaning mechanism. 

(xiii) Walk-behind milling machines and floor grinders

  • Use machine equipped with dust collection system recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Operate and maintain tool in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions to minimize dust emissions.
  • Dust collector must provide the air flow recommended by the manufacturer, or greater, and have a filter with 99% or greater efficiency and a filter-cleaning mechanism.
  • When used indoors or in an enclosed area, use a HEPA-filtered vacuum to remove loose dust in between passes.

Custom Concrete Prep and Polish Meets OSHA Silica Guidelines

Custom Concrete Prep and Polish has implemented safety practices according to OSHA guidelines. We use industry-leading concrete dust extractors in conjunction with our new commercial grinders to help meet OSHA guidelines.

SASE Bull 1250 Dust Collectors and Pre-Separators

  • Three-Stage Filtration Configuration
  • The Bull 1250 has an airflow of 388 CFM.

During three stage filtration, the dust travels from the grinder through the hose into the pre-separator. Once in the pre-separator, most of the heavy dust and debris are dropped in a bag that is sealed on one end and connected to the equipment on the other. The lighter dust then goes from the pre-separator to the collector where it passes through a large main filter and is dropped in another pre-sealed bag. The remaining exhaust is then passed through a HEPA filter to make sure the exhaust air is clean and safe to breathe.

SASE BULL 1250 Dust Collector

Ermator T7500 Three Phase HEPA Extractor

  • Equipped with Jet Pulse for effective filter cleaning and Longopac® dust free changing of bag and easy disposal of the machine’s contents.
  • Equipped with 3 tested and certified HEPA filters ensuring clean air exhaust.
  • A primary sock-style pre-filter provides long, uninterrupted service and can be cleaned efficiently from outside the tank via Jet Pulse air pressure.
  • The unique 70-foot Longopac® allows fast, drop-down, dust free disposal into approximately 25 individually sealed bags.
  • The dust bags are sealed before being removed from the dust collectors to ensure no dust escapes the bag and is released to the air. It is basically a long plastic bag that is sealed on one end. Once it is filled up with dust, it is sealed on the top end and thrown away.
Ermator T7500 Three-Phase Dust Extractors

Ermator S26 Dust Extractor + Metabo Dust Shroud

  • We use both seven-inch and five-inch Metabo hand grinders with the same size grinding wheels. OSHA states that for every inch of wheel, a dust collector with at least 25 CFM per inch is required. So for a 5” wheel we use 125 CFM, and for a 7” we use 175 CFM.
  • We use the Metabo dust shroud with the hand grinders.
  • The Ermator S26 has an air flow of 258 CFM. The Ermator is also equipped with a main cone filter and two HEPA filters to clean the air exhaust.
  • The Ermator S26 connects to the Metabo Hand Grinders to extract the freshly cut and friable concrete dust, considered to be the most hazardous to construction workers.
  • Ermator HEPA Dust Extractors are equipped with tested and certified HEPA filters that trap the smallest, most dangerous-to-breath dust particles and prevents them from being released into the air.
  • A HEPA Dust Extractor not only exhausts perfectly clean air, it is far more efficient for the fast recovery of bulk dry dust, debris and other building materials.
Ermator S26 HEPA Dust Extractor

Protecting Our Workers

Professional Grade Dust Masks

Custom Concrete Prep and Polish protects our crews from any dust that is not captured by the dust collectors. They wear either an N95 dust mask or a P100 respirator.

  • The N95 dust mask blocks 95% 0f any residual dust from entering the lungs.
  • The P100 blocks 100% of residual dust.
  • The mask choice depends on what we are doing and how dusty it is.
  • Additionally, all of our employees are fit tested to make sure they are healthy enough to wear a respirator and to make sure they have the correct size.