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New silica standard set for 2016

Georgia silica manufacturers may need to change their processes if the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has anything to do with it. The assistant secretary of OSHA says that a proposed standard is in the works and is expected to finalize in 2016. Additional changes are being suggested to help decrease the number of workplace accidents that occur. Specifically, the Safety 2014's plenary session focused on fall prevention and incentives to protect temporary workers on June 10.

One of the expected changes is for OSHA to request information regarding updates for the Permissible Exposure Limits. They intend to launch a national conversation about how to protect employees from the harmful effects of chemical exposure. A new prevention program has already been launched in Singapore and the question was raised about whether the United States could implement a similar regulation.

Another discussion covered during the plenary session was regarding the safety of temporary workers. OSHA cited one specific worker that died on his first day at a new placement; the machine that he was working on was not properly locked out as per the safety requirements. The company was fined accordingly.

Another topic was a disaster that occurred in 2013 and killed over 1,000 employees after a building collapse. Representatives debated on how garment workers involved in the manufacturing process could be protected and encouraged that employers consistently report the efforts taken to protect their workers and maintain healthy environments.

Individuals who are injured as a result of their employer's failure to adhere to OSHA standards may choose to pursue a workers' compensation claim. In the event that the benefits do not cover the extent of a person's injuries, they may also opt for a civil suit. A lawyer may be able to explain the complexities of either approaches.

Source: OH&S, "Final Silica Standard Expected in 2016", June 12, 2014

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