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"Exposure to silica can be deadly and limiting that exposure is essential. Every year, many exposed workers not only lose their ability to work but also breathe. This proposal is expected to prevent thousands of deaths from silicosis – an incurable and progressive disease – as well as lung cancer, other respiratory diseases, and kidney disease. Workers affected by silica are fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers lost to entirely preventable illnesses. We're looking forward to public comment on the proposal."

-Dr. David Michaels Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health

full-mask-respiratorThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States recently released a proposed rule - Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica.

OSHA proposes reducing the permissible exposure limits (PELs) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 μg/m3 or below. Among the suggested solutions is wearing respiratory equipment to protect the worker from exposure. OSHA has taken into consideration the difficulty this requirement brings to effective communications within certain industries. An excerpt from the proposed rule states: Safety problems created by respirators that limit vision and communication must also be considered. In some difficult or dangerous jobs, effective vision or communication is vital. Voice transmission through a respirator can be difficult and fatiguing. *


There are communication headset options available today that may help to ease some of these difficulties. An over-the-ear headset option can be used in conjunction with a throat microphone. The voice is picked up on the throat; this eliminates the need for a boom microphone in front of the mouth, which is obstructed by a full or half-face respirator.

There are also in-the-ear headset options. No need for a boom microphone or a throat microphone, the voice is picked up in the ear. Having the microphone in the ear will not interfere with a full or half-face respirator worn over the mouth.

If this proposed ruling affects your business, talk with a Sensear specialist to discuss the challenges in your work environment and learn more about the communication solutions Sensear has available to meet the changing needs of your industry.

*DEPARTMENT OF LABOR Occupational Safety and Health Administration 29 CFR Parts 1910, 1915, and 1926 [Docket No. OSHA-2010-0034] RIN 1218-AB70

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