Occupational Health and Safety Committee Revises Silica Standard, Creates New Subcommittee
An important standard that is used to help protect the health of workers where there may be occupational exposure to quartz dust has recently been revised. ASTM standard E 1132, Practice for Health Requirements Relating to Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica, was developed by Subcommittee E34.16 on Silicas, which is under the jurisdiction of Committee E34 on Occupational Health and Safety.
“E 1132 contains practical information concerning how and where to evaluate the extent of respirable crystalline silica in the air that an employee could potentially inhale, procedures for medical surveillance, effective engineering controls, work practices aimed at preventing excessive exposure and appropriate personal protective equipment,” says Kenneth Vorpahl, a subcommittee member and general manager, safety and health, Unimin Corporation.
Practice E 1132 was developed because it was felt that a consensus standard was necessary to introduce measures to evaluate work environments, biological exposure response, and the means and methods to protect employees from the development of silicosis, a chronic lung disease. First published in 1986, E 1132 is used by silica miners and industrial processors, as well as anyone who uses, handles, removes or otherwise is exposed to silica. Vorpahl notes that the recent revision to E 1132 includes improved clarification of its content and updated information.
The focus on the recent revision to E 1132 has also led Committee E34 to create a new subcommittee, E34.30 on Occupational Health and Safety in Construction. While members of the construction industry were involved in the E 1132 revision, it was decided that silica presented specific issues within the construction industry that would best be addressed in a separate standard from E 1132. The proposed new standard that E34.30 will be developing is WK13957, Health Requirements Relating to Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction and Demolition Activities.
“Development of a stand-alone silica in construction standard will allow meaningful health requirements for the construction industry,” says Rashod Roderick Johnson, chair of the new subcommittee and president, the Roderick Group, Inc. Construction professionals, including, but not limited to, contactors, workers, specifiers, designers and inspectors will all benefit from the proposed new standard on silica in construction.
Interested parties are invited to participate in the standards developing activities of Subcommittee E34.30.
Technical Information, E1132 revision: Kenneth Vorpahl, Unimin Corporation, Winchester, Va.
Subcommittee E34.30: Rashod R. Johnson, The Roderick Group, Inc. Chicago, Ill.
ASTM Staff: Kevin Shanahan
April Committee Week