As you may know, OSHA penalties are increasing significantly next month.  While you can read about the details here, I want to use this Tech Tip to address a potential rack installation issue that you probably haven’t considered.

Silica Rule Enforcement

While you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the safety of the installers working on your projects because they’re part of a subcontractor’s team, responsibility and liability can land on you.  As a result, being aware of new OSHA rules will only benefit you.

OSHA is beginning to crack down on respirable crystalline silica – a dust that if inhaled can cause silicosis, bronchitis, or cancer. OSHA has issued two standards to protect workers from being exposed to it in construction or general industry and maritime.
OSHA has estimated that over 840,000 workers are being exposed to silica levels that exceed the PEL (permissible exposure limit). Exposure can result from:

  • masonry sawing
  • grinding
  • drilling
  • jack hammering
  • tools that involve chipping

Obviously the major concern for pallet rack installers is the drilling involved in anchoring uprights.  Recommendations for preventing exposure are pretty detailed and you can read them here.  The short version for our purposes are to keep the dust out of the air by wet drilling and to use adequate respiratory protection.