In the fall of 2013 the Occupational Health and Safety presented to the ACA Safety WCB Committee on Silica exposure sampling. OHS worksite sampling found many vertical sites and workers across numerous occupations exposure higher than the limit. Awareness was low and in many instances safe procedures were not in use. With that in mind the Alberta Construction Association began in 2014 to look create a best practice for our members. Through the hard work of a number of volunteers we have created a best practice guideline.
Alberta’s construction industry has a statutory obligation to minimize harm to their workers from occupational exposure to crystalline silica and related products, with a statutory occupational exposure limit of .025 grams per cubic metre air per 8 hour working day.
Silica and related products are found in numerous construction materials, and testing of Alberta commercial construction sites has found that the dust and debris created through numerous construction tasks (eg. concrete coring, sanding of drywall) has the potential to expose all trades on a site to the hazard.
The Alberta Construction Association has developed the attached documents for your use. While these practices are not mandatory, they provide guidance to assist members in assessing and minimizing exposure to site specific silica hazards. The Association strongly urges your firm to make use of these documents and work to achieve best practices to safeguard your employees and achieve regulatory compliance.
ACA thanks the approximately three dozen industry volunteers that created these documents. The practices are living documents and will improve with continued member input.
ACA is working with the Alberta Construction Safety Association to develop awareness and supervisor training for 2017. Once these practices are well established on Alberta jobsites, ACA plans to test with OHS to obtain hard evidence to confirm whether the current statutory limit is technically and economically feasible.