New OSHA rule regarding silica dust exposure Email
Tuesday, April 26, 2016 05:00 AM


Creating dustThis year, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule regarding exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The aim of the rule is to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America's workers. There are two standards: one for Construction and one for General Industry and Maritime.
Landscape company employees can be exposed to respirable crystalline silica on the job. Silica-containing materials include sand, stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar—all materials found in many hardscapes.

Proper safety measures can limit exposure with engineering controls (water, ventilation, vacuum system), by providing respirators to employees, and by implementing a plan to educate workers and control exposure to silica dust. For highly exposed workers, employers may be required to provide medical exams to monitor worker lung health. Learn more about the key provisions of the rule at

Once the rule goes into effect on June 23, 2016, construction industry employers (including landscape industry employers) have one year to be in compliance. Small businesses can request a free consultation with OSHA; this is separate from the inspection program and can help business owners identify and remedy any issues before the June 23, 2017 deadline.

According to OSHA, “The consultation is confidential and will not be reported routinely to the OSHA inspection staff. No citations or penalties are issued and your only obligation is to correct serious job safety and health hazards--a commitment which you are expected to make prior to the actual visit and carry out in a timely manner.”

For more detailed information on the OSHA rule and how it may affect your landscape company, use the links below.
Fact sheet 
Rules for construction (including landscape)
Silica FAQs
Final Rule

Read more in this issue:
Better by nature: Certification is part of LandCare's mission
How a recession helped a seasonal business build a year-round working crew
Hiner Landscapes, Inc. receives The ELITE Award for Innovation
Houzz study offers insights on landscaping trends