Because of the work of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the CDC, and other construction work groups, many in the construction industry are now aware that prolonged and a high volume exposure to silica based products can cause life threatening diseases. These research and educational efforts have resulted in a better understanding of the threat, lead to better strategies to manage it, and resulted in safety protocols being utilized to protect workers.
A national advisory group of researchers, contractors, labor organizations, and governmental agencies with field experience using silica based products recently developed a model set of specifications for the purpose of educating end users and developing protocols to manage exposure. Drawn from the CPWR/NIOSH Engineering Control Work Group, the silica advisory task force drafted specifications over a 2 year period beginning in 2012. Those draft specifications were widely distributed for review and comment. They have now been finalized and issued for use by the industry. A copy of the specifications can be found here.
The document is designed to be a "best practice" reference guide that is to be utilized based on the specific needs of the contractor on a project. It contains various pieces of information, including particulars on using control technology, training, and the evaluation of protocols to achieve the best results.