Silica knowledge is a must on a construction site, since occupational exposure to crystalline silica often occurs as part of common construction operations involving cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, block, rock, and stone products. The hazards of excessive exposure to crystalline silica have been known since ancient times, going back to the construction of the pyramids. However, despite more than 2,000 years of knowledge that silica is a hazard, data from the National Occupational Respiratory Mortality System indicates that between 1990 and 1999 there were still 118 reported silica-related deaths in the construction industry.
The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) explains that a key component in preventing overexposure to silica and subsequent disease is to have a competent person for on a construction site who is capable of recognizing and evaluating situations where overexposure may be occurring, who knows how to evaluate the exposure potential, and who can make an initial recommendation on how to control that exposure.
The AIHA has released a white paper that provides the recommended skills and capabilities for “silica-competent persons.”
According to the white paper, silica-qualified person:
- Has a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing in an occupational health, safety, environmental, or engineering field (e.g., CIH, CSP, PE);
- Has extensive knowledge, training, and experience in hazards and control of silica hazards on the construction site through formal training and/or extensive, firsthand experience in anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of worker silica exposure; and
- Can make quantitative assessments of worker exposure and recommend detailed control measures.
Summit’s Silica Safety Awareness program will teach your workers about the hazards of crystalline silica in order to avoid unnecessary illness and death.
~Get Social with Summit Training Source, now a part of the Health and Safety Institute~
Twitter: Sara Wesche @SafetyTraining1