On December 14, the California OSHSB approved an emergency temporary standard (ETS) for respirable crystalline silica, effective from December 29, focusing on protecting workers, particularly in stone fabrication.
Aiming to prevent silicosis, an incurable disease caused by inhaling silica, the ETS addresses high-exposure tasks like cutting artificial stone countertops.
The ETS mandates safety measures, including wet methods, proper waste handling, and monitoring silica levels, with specific respiratory protection and communication requirements.
Enforcement and Federal Initiative:
Cal/OSHA may issue orders for violations, and employers must report confirmed silicosis cases. In September, federal OSHA began an initiative for silica exposures in the engineered stone industry, complementing the 2020 National Emphasis Program.