Sample language that could be put into a bargaining agreement assuring that dry-cutting and dry-grinding are prohibited, in order to reduce the exposure to silica
|The following language, was developed by the Bricklayers' Union to help protect workers against the risk of silicosis and other serious lung diseases. Local union affiliates of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers have used the language in some collectively bargained agreements since 2000. (Also see a hazard alert the union helped develop, Safe Work with Power Saws, under: hazards-chemical-silica.)|
In order to protect the health and safety of employees against the ill-effects of silicosis and other respiratory diseases, the dry cutting of masonry units by means of hand-held, gas powered or electrical, portable "chop saws" and skill saws, and the dry grinding of masonry materials shall be prohibited on all masonry projects, effective __[DATE]__. Employees engaged in wet cutting masonry products will be furnished elbow length gloves, an apron and goggles. No employee shall operate a wet saw unless provided with a wooden platform on which to stand and the saw is properly grounded.
The only exception to this provision will be when the Union and employer determine that the use of water is not feasible. When the Union and the employer identify such tasks, the employer must ensure that engineering and work practice controls are in place to control the dust: such as a vacuum with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or another dust control system.
Respirators should only be used as the primary method of protection if other engineering and work practice controls are not feasible. When respirators are used, in accordance with OSHA regulations, employers must provide workers with full-face respirators as part of a complete respiratory protection program that includes the proper selection of respiratory cartridges, and training and fit-testing to ensure that the worker is able to wear a respirator.
Additionally, in the event the Union and the employer determine that dry cutting or grinding is necessary, the contractor agrees to perform periodic air monitoring to ensure that silica exposure levels do not exceed the OSHA permissible exposure limit.