Industry Groups Concerned by Silica Standard; PCB Manufacturers Should Take Note

By Bret Bruhn, TTM Technologies; Fern Abrams, IPC

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) new standard for silica dust, published March 24, 2016, cuts the allowable 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) exposure limit for silica dust from 100 mg/l to 50 mg/l.  Printed board manufacturing involves drilling and routing of laminates containing silica glass fibers. Consequently, facilities may need to perform an evaluation of potential exposures, particularly in routing activities, areas with minimal exhaust extraction, or maintenance of dust collectors, exhaust piping and other control devices.

The compliance deadline for the construction industry is June 23, 2017, with a later June 23, 2018 compliance date for general industry and manufacturing.

Construction trade groups strongly oppose the new rule, describing it as impractical, unnecessary, and technologically unfeasible.  They may take legal action to oppose it.


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