CoatingsPro Magazine

JAN 2019

CoatingsPro offers an in-depth look at coatings based on case studies, successful business operation, new products, industry news, and the safe and profitable use of coatings and equipment.

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Page 33 of 108

COATINGSPRO JANUARY 2019 33 WORK IT SAFE Respirable crystalline silica — very small particles at least 100 times smaller than ordinary sand you might find on beaches and playgrounds — is created when cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling, and crushing stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar. Activities such as abrasive blasting with sand, sawing brick, or concrete; sanding or drilling into concrete walls; grinding mortar; manufacturing brick, concrete blocks, stone countertops, or ceramic products; and cutting or crushing stone can result in worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica dust. Industrial sand used in certain operations, such as foundry work and hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking), is also a source of respirable crystal- line silica exposure. About 2.3 million people in the United States are exposed to silica at work. Workers who inhale these very small crystalline silica particles are at increased risk of developing serious silica-related diseases, including: Silicosis, an incurable lung disease that can lead to disability and death; Lung cancer; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); Kidney disease. T o p r o t e c t w o r k e r s e x p o s e d t o r e s p i r a b l e c r y s t a l l i n e s i l i c a , t h e Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued two respirable silica standards: one for construction and the other for general industry and maritime. Workers have the right to: Work in conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm; Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace; Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses; File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA's rules; OSHA will keep all identities confidential; Exercise their rights under the law without retaliation, including reporting an injury or raising health and safety concerns with their employer or OSHA. If a worker has been retaliated against for using his or her rights, the worker must file a complaint with OSHA as soon as possible but no later than 30 days after the retaliation has occurred. For more information, contact: OSHA, and impairment is very often diffi- cult to determine because there is no reliable test that conclusively deter- mines when someone is " high " from marijuana. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law as a Schedule I Narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970. Under the CSA, it is illegal to manufacture, sell, distribute, or possess marijuana, and no physician may prescribe marijuana use; however, 30 states have passed laws legalizing the medical use of marijuana under their laws. Nine states and the District of Columbia have also legalized the recreational use of marijuana. ese lists seem to grow with every election, so contractors should continue to monitor developments. e legalization of marijuana poses a perplexing legal issue for contractors (and probably a few law professors as well): How do you resolve a conflict between federal and state law on such a critical issue? For this article, I will keep it simple: Focus on jobsite safety. Protecting the safety and health of employees and the public should be every contractor's primary focus. A lthough there is generally no legal protection for use, possession, or intoxication at work, the expansive adoption of medical marijuana laws by the states poses significant legal and practical issues for construction indus- try employers. e U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have a specific standard that prohibits drug use or impairment from drug use on a jobsite. e General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, may be applicable, though. It states: "Each employer shall furnish to each of [its] employees employment and a place of employment, which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to [its] employees." e General Duty Clause is intended to protect employees when there is no particular standard that applies. For example, OSHA has targeted such recognized unregulated workplace hazards as combustible dust and internal traffic control plans in highway work zones. To prevail on a General Duty Clause, OSHA must establish these elements: a. The employer failed to keep the workplace free of a hazard to which employees of that employer were exposed; b. The hazard was recognized; c. The hazard was causing or was likely to cause death or serious physical harm; d. There was a feasible and useful method to correct the hazard. It's conceivable that OSHA could attempt to use the General Duty Clause if medical marijuana use is a factor in a workplace accident. Time will tell. Must An Employer Accommodate Medical Marijuana Usage? e answer to this is no…and yes. An employer doesn't need to accommodate the usage under federal law but possibly Safety Watch

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