OSHA Rule from 2016 Mandates Worker Protection from Respirable Silica


OSHA pic

Image: OSHA.gov

Based in Houston, Texas, SandBox Logistics is a firm that provides companies in the oil and gas sector with innovative methods of frac sand handling, proppant storage, and well-site delivery. Firms that rely on hydraulic fracturing in their production processes can employ the services of SandBox Logistics in order to better protect workers against the hazards posed by silica dust and frac sand, as recently mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

According to an OSHA document published in March of 2016, companies conducting hydraulic fracturing operations must take certain precautions to protect onsite workers from the health hazards posed by the inhalation of crystalline silica. The new provisions of the rule require employers to regularly monitor air quality on worksites, make improvements to engineering controls to reduce exposure, and offer protective respiratory equipment to workers in the event that levels of respirable silica cannot be controlled or diminished.

Uncontrolled regular exposure to respirable silica has the potential to cause silicosis in workers, a disease that inflames and scars lung tissue, ultimately resulting in a reduced capacity for oxygen inhalation. Silica also has the potential to cause life-threatening diseases like lung cancer, and may play a role in the development of illnesses like kidney disease, tuberculosis, and autoimmune disorders.


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