The Monitor

OSHA provides guide to comply with new silica rule

OSHA has published a small entity compliance guide to assist small businesses within the construction industry with the new Crystalline Silica Rule.  The Rule went into effect on June 23, 2016 and the Construction Industry compliance date is June 23, 2017.

Key provisions of the new rule are:

  • Reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (50µg/m3), averaged over an 8-hour shift.
  • Requires employers to:
    • Use engineering controls to limit worker exposure to the PEL
    • Provide respirators when engineering controls cannot adequately limit exposure;
    • Limit worker access to high exposure areas
    • Develop a written exposure control plan
    • Offer medical exams to highly exposed workers
    • Train workers on silica risks and how to limit exposures
  • Provides medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers and gives them information about their lung health.
  • Provides flexibility to help employers – especially small businesses – protect workers from silica exposures.

A link to OSHA’s Small Entity Compliance Guide is

If you have questions about complying with the new standard, are interested in training your workforce or need exposure monitoring or lab analysis, please complete the form on the “Contact” tab on top right side of our website.

Confined Spaces in Construction

On May 4, 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published 20140205-5062 CS Picturea final rule and new standard for construction work in confined spaces. 29 CFR 1926.1200 Subpart AA (Confined Spaces in Construction) is now aligned with those protections found in the General Industry standard. All construction employers, whose workers may be exposed to confined space hazards, are affected by the rule. Additionally, all employers must have a written confined space program if workers will enter permit spaces. The rule goes into effect August 5, 2015.

The U.S. Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez, indicated in a statement that “[the rule] will prevent about 780 serious injuries every year”.

There are 5 key differences to the Construction Confined Space regulation:

  1. More detailed provisions requiring coordinated activities when there are multiple employers at the worksite. This will ensure hazards are not introduced into a confined space by workers performing tasks outside of the space.
  2. Requiring a competent person to evaluate the work site and identify confined spaces, including permit spaces.
  3. Requiring continuous atmospheric monitoring whenever possible.
  4. Requiring continuous monitoring of engulfment hazards (e.g. when workers are performing work in a storm sewer).
  5. Allowing for the suspension of a permit, instead of cancellation, in the event of changes from the entry conditions list on the permit or an unexpected event requiring evacuation of the space. The space must be returned to the entry conditions listed on the permit before re-entry.

OSHA has also added provisions to the Confined Spaces in Construction rule that clarify existing requirements in the General Industry Standard, including:

  • Requiring that employers who direct workers to enter a space without using a complete permit system, prevent workers’ exposure to physical hazards through elimination of the hazard or isolation methods such as lockout/tagout.
  • Requiring that employers who are relying on local emergency services for emergency services arrange for the responders to give the employer advanced notice if they will be unable to respond for a period of time.
  • Requiring employers to provide training in a language and vocabulary that the worker understands.

OSHA will also treat compliance with this new rule as compliance with the general industry confined spaces rule when one or more employers are engaged in both general industry work and construction work at the same time in the same space.

OSHA can assess a maximum penalty of $7,000 for each serious violation/failure to comply with the new rule and $70,000 for a willful or repeated violation.

AMA’s 8-Hour OSHA Confined Space Course is compliant with Confined Spaces in Construction AND General Industry Confined Space.

REMINDER: Maryland Lead Law Compliance

On January 1, 2015, all Maryland residential rental dwelling units built prior to 1978 must be in compliance with Title 6, Subtitle 8 of the Environmental Article, Annotated Code of Maryland (Maryland’s “Lead Law”). Currently, compliance is required for residential rental dwelling units built prior to 1950. Affected properties that “opted out” of the previous requirement can no longer do so. According to the EPA, 24% of homes built between 1960 and 1978 are likely to contain lead-based paint.

In order to be in compliance, Owners of affected properties must:

  • Register with MDE;
  • Distribute Notice of Tenant Rights and Protect your Family for Lead in Your Home brochures and a copy of the current inspection certificate upon start of tenancy and every two years;
  • Meet MDE’s Lead Risk Reduction Standard;
  • Utilize MDE trained and accredited workers, supervisors and contractors to perform work.

Properties exempt from the Act:

  • Hotel, motel or similar seasonal/transient facility;
  • Properties that have been tested and issued a Lead Free or Limited Lead Free certificate.

Ebola Preparedness

Preparedness is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “the fact of being ready for something; the state of being prepared”. Past issues of The Monitor have addressed many facets of preparedness, through disaster plans to preparedness in the home.

With this year’s Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the several cases that were recently treated in the United States, AMA feels compelled to share web links in order for our environmental, health and safety community to be better informed and better prepared in the event there is a rise in Ebola cases here in the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) continue to update guidance documents on their websites. As researchers, scientists and medical professionals begin to learn more about this deadly virus, we can expect ongoing updates to practices and procedures for those protecting themselves from Ebola.

To keep up to date visit:

CDC website at and,
OSHA website at and,
WHO (World Health Organization)

Remember: the better educated, informed and prepared an organization is for any type of crisis, the more effective that organization will be should a crisis occur.

EPA RRP Rule Enforcement Actions

The EPA recently announced enforcement actions to contractors found to be non-compliant with the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule. Settlements were reached between May 2013 and January 2014. There were seventeen (17) contractors that did not obtain the mandatory RRP certification prior to performing renovation activities on pre-1978 homes. Twenty-one (21) settlements were for violations dealing with contractors that did not follow required lead-safe work practices. Additionally, three (3) settlements involved general contractors failing to ensure that their subcontractors followed the RRP standards. The enforcement actions led to civil penalties in excess of $274,000.

AHERA Compliance

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) audits schools each year in Maryland for local education agency (LEA) compliance with the AHERA rules and regulations. Last year, the audits occurred from October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013. The following are the top seven violations found by MDE:

  • 30 violations – Failed to maintain records
  • 15 violations – Failed to ensure proper compliance of response actions
  • 14 violations – Failed to sample new material, or assume the new material as asbestos
  • 13 violations – Failed to notify shot term workers concerning the asbestos found in the schools
  • 12 violations – Failed to provide initial or annual notifications to parents, teachers, and employee organizations concerning the asbestos found in the schools
  • 12 violations – Failed to conduct periodic surveillance every six months
  • 12 violations – Failed to Qualify for an AHERA exclusion

Each of these violations carries a fine of up $6,500 per violation. The entire list of violations can be found in the December 2013 Asbestos 101 newsletter from MDE.

AMA approved by D.C. to teach the 8-Hour Lead-Dust Sampling Technician Course

This course meets the training certification requirements for the District of Columbia Lead-Dust Sampling Technician. The course teaches individuals how to conduct Renovation Permit, Change in Occupancy and Interim Controls lead dust sampling under the District of Columbia’s new lead regulations. This course is designed to be taught over an 8-hour time period with 2 hours devoted to hands-on training.

An AMA certificate of completion is provided for each student upon successful completion of the course.

This course is ideal for Property Managers and personnel dealing with tenant turnover, renovations and/or interim controls.