There is a lot of confusion out there regarding the new OSHA respirable silica exposure standard, Omega wants to clarify how this new requirement will affect plastering contractors. In short it does! Many plastering contractors believe they are exempt, but the reality is traditional plastering is a target of OSHA. Traditional plaster (cement-based stucco finish, three coat scratch and brown, and one coat) all are made from cement and silica sand, which have trace amounts of respirable silica. OSHA knows this and if they see any dust on your jobsite, they will ask for proof you are complying with the exposure standard. Pleading that you did not know about the requirement or thought that it did not apply to you will not get you out of the citation; and those citations can be tens of thousands of dollars. We at Omega do not want to see any of our customers getting hit with those fines.
An inexpensive, relatively easy option to help plastering contractors comply, is to join the Stucco Manufacturers Association’s (SMA) Silica Compliance Program. https://www.omega-products.com/sma-silica-compliance-program/ The SMA has conducted the required OSHA exposure testing and written a plastering specific exposure control plan. Plus, the SMA provides guidelines on how to train the required competent person and how to train the rest of the employees. It would cost a contractor many thousands of dollars to conduct the exposure testing and to develop a plan, so the $500 to join the SMA is a bargain. Omega is very active at the SMA and worked hard to help develop the Silica Compliance Program because we do not want our customers fined. OSHA is already visiting jobsites nationwide. I would strongly encourage all plastering contractors that have not done so already, to contact the SMA and participate in the program.