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Old 01-23-2018, 09:22 AM   #1
Ward
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OSHA's Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction

I'm just wondering what some of you are doing to comply with OSHA's Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction as it applies to your everyday work with tile.

What are you doing to collect/contain the dust and protect yourself and your employees when it comes to mixing thinset and grout? We've been using HEPA air scrubbers (Predator 750's) on our jobs for years now and have also started using them in the area we are mixing thinset and grout now as well if mixing inside.

I know there are tools out there to help contain and collect the dust when using power tools for drilling holes, chipping up old material and using the angle grinder. We haven't yet started using any of those.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:48 PM   #2
LAN1870
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I have always used facemasks and keep the work area free of dust, etc. i think most people who work in tile, renovations, etc. know how to protect themselves. Its a matter if you’re diligent about it or not. I do residential remodels so I am not worried about a visit from OSHA. I am sure others may chime in with their protocols.
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Old 01-24-2018, 07:05 AM   #3
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I recently put out a blog post about respirable crystalline silica:

http://www.mapei.com/US-EN/tech-talk...asp?IDPost=206

We have tested several of our products and found that the amount of silica they generate is low. Still, you shouldn't breath any dust if you can help it so taking steps to reduce the dust you inhale is always a good idea.
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Old 01-24-2018, 11:03 AM   #4
Ward
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Under the new rules, if the Equipment/Task is listed in Table 1, then you can follow the Engineering and Work Practice Controls Methods and any Required Respiratory Protection and Minimum Assigned Protection Factor (APF) for that Equipment/Task.

If your task is NOT listed in Table 1 (the mixing of thinset and grout is not) you have some options:

This was taken from https://www.silica-safe.org/ask-a-question/faq

If my task isn't on Table 1, what do I have to do to comply with the standard?
OSHA offers three methods an employer can choose from to demonstrate compliance and assess employee exposure. An employer can use one of the three or any combination of them to ensure their employees are protected.

The options are:

Table 1: includes pre-defined tasks and specified control methods. An employer that fully implements an equipment-control option on Table 1 for a task will not have to perform air monitoring for that task.

Performance or 'Objective Data': includes air monitoring data compiled by the employer or third parties, such as universities, trade associations, or manufacturers, which is sufficient to accurately characterize exposure to prove the control method used reduces silica dust exposure below the permissible exposure level (PEL) of 50 μg/m3 over an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA). The data relied on us must reflect conditions that are similar or worse than the employers current worksite conditions.

Scheduled Air Monitoring program: assesses exposure by implementing a scheduled air monitoring program to ensure employees are not exposed above the PEL. When this option is used, an employer is required to implement an air monitoring program when workers are exposed over the Action Level (AL) of 25 μg/m3 over an 8-hour TWA, and implement control methods.


Now the Mapei guy mentioned that in their lab results using their products, the PEL and AL limits were not reached. That's a good baseline however since each jobsite is different, you can't rely on that Objective Data. It's up to you to determine the exposure on your site using the products you normally would.
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Old 01-24-2018, 12:26 PM   #5
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Ward, you're 100% correct. We provide objective data for our products, but mixing mortar or grout is never done in a vacuum. Even when we were doing the tests, we had to move away from the guy cutting tile on the wet saw and someone else sweeping up drywall dust. OSHA is looking at overall exposure, not specific products or even single tasks. What we provide isn't intended to be handed to OSHA as proof of compliance, but can be used as part of an exposure control plan to show that mixing mortar is not enough, in itself, to put someone over the action level.
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Old 01-24-2018, 01:48 PM   #6
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From personal experience, I can assure you your not as invincible as you think when it comes to sucking dust. Some get lucky, many don't. By the time you find out which category your in you likely won't be setting tile.
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