Will there be a Silica Update?

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OSHA recently submitted a draft Request for Information to the Office of Management and Budget regarding Table 1 of 1926.1153 (OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Regulation for the Construction Industry). The purpose of the RFI is to determine if revisions to Table 1 are needed and/or appropriate.

If the OMB approves the measure, the RFI could lead to revisions to Table 1 that would identify additional common construction tasks with corresponding dust control methods, which would, in turn, make it easier for construction employers to address employee exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

The OMB generally reviews such documents in 60 days, but they are under no obligation to complete their review or to take action within that time frame. So, while the changes may not be “soon” it is nice to hear that they may be coming.

In the meantime, you should brush up on the regulations as written to ensure you are in compliance:

Women in Construction Week – March 3 – 9, 2019

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This week we celebrate the “Women in Construction”!

Women in construction make a powerful impact, in spite of making up a small percentage of the construction work force. According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women held 9.1% of the positions in the construction industry by the end of 2016. Of this percentage only 2% were employed in the physical labor occupations such as laborers, equipment operators, or other skilled trades.

Regardless of the position that the women held case studies have indicated the following positive impacts that women have had on the construction industry:

  • Enhanced team performance
  • New or alternative perspectives on how to best approach challenges in the workplace
  • Increased profitability for companies with diverse teams at all levels.
  • And my personal favorite… “the overall intelligence of teams was greater when females were incorporated as team members.”

In short, women can both compensate for labor shortages and contribute to problem solving and efficiency on the project.

For me, however, the impact is far greater than what is felt immediately. Women in Construction set the example for our future generations of women.

Our daughters need role models than can show them they are just as capable as our sons in industries that are heavily influenced in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math…and physical labor.

There is NO evidence that girls are less capable than boys in the STEM fields, but sadly they FEEL less capable than boys. And often this feeling is established very early in life in ways that many of us may not even realize. Yes, girls tend to automatically want to watch the princess movies while boys want to watch the transformers. But by constantly reminding your daughters that there are no “boy” activities or “boy” skills or “boy” colors…. you will see her blossom into a strong smart and lively woman…. Trust me, as a mother of a young daughter I am constantly explaining that yes, women CAN do construction, CAN be good at science and math, CAN wear jeans rather than dresses, CAN like blue rather than pink, CAN like dinosaurs. The list is endless of the things that she has thought that girls can’t do…and it is with rare exception I am annihilating that list.

So now I have a daughter that loves science and math and dinosaurs and really really really wants them to wear pink dresses and let a princess ride on them. I’ll take it. Because now I am confident that whether she chooses a STEM field or not, at least she FEELS that she can if she wants to. And THAT is the important part.

How can I celebrate Women in Construction?

Take a look around you and celebrate the women you work with. Share their stories with your daughters. Encourage your daughters to follow their dreams. Teach them to cut the grass, or plant a flower, or build their toy box, … Get your daughters involved!