Hydraulic fracturing operations can create a silica hazard to workers, and employers should take proper steps to prevent exposure, in June OSHA and NIOSH released a jointly issued hazard alert. This alert was centerted around the process of induced hydraulic fracturing, often referred to as “fracking”. Where large amounts of water, silica sand and chemicals are released at high pressure into a well opening to force gas or oil to flow out. NIOSH studied previously identified silica overexposure as a health hazard in “fracking” operations. The alert describes employers’ responsibilities to protect workers from overexposure to silica and suggests many different engineering controls, work practices and protective equipment. It is available at www.osha.gov/dts/hazardalerts/hydraulic_frac_hazard_alert.html. If you have more in depth questions on silica exposures or any industrial hygiene inquiry, or would like to have a free informative seminar call Doug Marshall (800) 828-8487.
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