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Laticrete Supercap offers solution to OSHA silica dust regulation

Pouring ECUBethany, Conn.—Independent third-party testing has confirmed that Laticrete Supercap can help contractors and installers comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new workplace standards that reduces the allowable amount of exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust in construction projects.

Fuss & O’Neill, an independent industrial hygiene consultant, conducted the testing at a Boston University construction project. The consultant concluded an installation of Supercap SC500 through the patented Supercap System contributed no respirable silica dust on the jobsite or surrounding areas. Additionally, Supercap SC500 produced no foreseeable exposure to any of the workers involved in the process, thus ensuring compliance with OSHA’s new silica dust regulations.

“For contractors and installers seeking an immediate option for complying with the newly-enforced regulations, the Laticrete Supercap System increases jobsite and worker safety along with its proven time and cost savings,” said Douglas Matchick, Laticrete Supercap president. “It’s an innovative solution for their commercial projects.”

All Laticrete Supercap self-leveling underlayments are pumped into a building using a mobile blending truck, eliminating any dry material from entering the interior of the jobsite and the need for workers to haul and manually open hundreds of individual bags and pumping equipment. Additionally, Supercap now offers self-leveling underlayment ready-mix delivery service, a turnkey service that saves significant costs associated with purchasing, operating and maintaining one’s own pump truck.

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Fuse Alliance, Starnet Worldwide join forces to address industry issues

fuse-starnet-logos-horizontalLaguna Niguel, Calif.—Fuse Alliance and Starnet Worldwide Commercial Flooring are forming a joint task force to focus on critical issues facing the commercial flooring industry. During a meeting last month in Chicago, both groups’ board of directors identified the task force as a collaborative step toward supporting each networks’ members and better serving their manufacturers.

The task force will address long-standing industry concerns such as moisture mitigation—including high-moisture solutions—and labor shortages in estimating and installation. Additionally, the task force will establish guidelines for regulatory practices including the current OSHA Crystalline Silica rules and other labor issues on the service side of the industry. By tapping into each other’s base of knowledge and resources, Starnet and Fuse can tackle a broader range of issues affecting the architecture and design industry, and ultimately craft a better customer experience.

The task force is estimated to launch by year’s end, and will comprise seasoned members from both groups. Collectively, Fuse Alliance and Starnet Worldwide represent more than 250 of the most influential flooring contractors in the United States.

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Laticrete products pass new OSHA workplace standards

laticrete_logoBethany, Conn.—Laticrete has validated through independent air sample testing that its top-selling bagged products fully comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new workplace standards (effective Sept. 23) that limit the amount of respirable crystalline silica dust on the jobsite.

An industrial hygiene consultant has concluded that no respirable crystalline silica dust was measured above the OSHA detection limits in any of the products tested. In fact, the products measured well below the maximum exposure limits.

“Laticrete takes health and safety concerns very seriously, especially when it affects our industry, customers and users of our products,” said Sean Boyle, vice president of marketing North America, Laticrete. “As a continuation of our long-time commitment to the highest levels of service and quality possible, we proactively had our products tested to ensure compliance with the new national standards.”

Products representative of the tile and stone installation system, masonry veneer installation system and the specialty products division were tested. Key products included 257 Titanium, Tri-Lite, MVIS Premium Pointing Mortar and Drytek Levelex.

“There is a misconception that if a product contains silica, it is automatically harmful,” Boyle said. “We hope that this proactive, independent analysis helps reinforce that our products fully conform to the allowable workplace safety standards.

 

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Invista Athens earns OSHA VPP STAR

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 9.29.04 AMAthens, Ga.—Invista’s Athens site has once again earned STAR status—the highest designation—under the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). Invista, which was first certified in 2012, is one of only three VPP STAR sites here.

“This designation represents our employees’ ongoing dedication to safety,” said Shauna Devereux, Invista Athens site manager. “Every day, we strive for 10,000% compliance, which means 100% of our employees comply with safety requirements and regulations 100% of the time.”

OSHA awarded the VPP STAR recertification to the Athens site after a thorough third-party audit of the site’s safety and health programs, operations performance and safety record.

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WFCA objects to OSHA's new silica work proposal

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 12.28.50 PMAnaheim, Calif. — The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) has notified the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Association’s objections to new rules that have been proposed for work involving crystalline silica.

“WFCA fully supports the general concern over worker safety,” said Scott Humphrey, chief executive officer of WFCA. “But the scientific evidence regarding the risks from exposure to crystalline silica simply does not justify imposing the substantial costs of compliance with the new proposal on retail flooring dealers.”

Crystalline silica is a naturally occurring substance found in sand and stone. It is present in flooring products that are sourced from sand and stone, including tiles, glass, concrete and grout. OSHA based its new regulatory proposal on studies of the cumulative effect of crystalline silica inhalation on miners, quarry workers and others exposed to this hazard daily for more than 20 years.

WFCA’s comments to OSHA demonstrated that flooring installers are exposed to crystalline silica dust only occasionally, such as when they cut tile or stone flooring, repair concrete or remove grout. But if the proposed new standards are applied to the operations of independent flooring retailers, those dealers would have to incur substantial costs for new equipment, continuous medical examination and air monitoring, and extensive record-keeping.

The proposed standard cuts previously established exposure limits in half and would require employers to:

  • Measure the amount of silica dust that every worker is exposed to in an average eight-hour day;
  • Buy and use certain equipment, such as stationary masonry saws, equipped with integrated water delivery systems and HEPA vacuums;
  • Limit access of workers to areas that have dust concentrations above the proposed permissible level, but not allow employee rotation to minimize exposure;
  • Provide respirators to workers when dust controls cannot limit exposure to the new permissible level;
  • Offer medical exams-including chest X-rays and lung function tests-at employer expense every three years for workers exposed to conditions above the new permissible levels for 30 or more days per year;
  • Provide guidelines and train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and offer ways to limit exposure; and
    • Keep records of workers’ silica exposure and medical exams.

Humphrey explained that the WFCA opposes application of the proposed new rules to retail flooring dealers because of the relatively limited exposure of the dealers’ workers to crystalline silica dust. The WFCA provided OSHA with information showing that the vast majority of flooring dealers do not have employees or independent contractors who regularly cut or sand tile, stone, or concrete. WFCA presented data demonstrating that the proposed standard would impose an unreasonable financial burden on the average retail flooring dealer.

“Most of us were not even aware of the proposed regulation, which would cost dealers thousands of dollars, until WFCA brought it to our attention,” said Scott Walker, chief financial officer, WFCA, and owner of Walkers Carpet One Floor & Home Inc. in Bellingham, Wash. “With the Association’s call to arms, we immediately mobilized and provided information to explain the low exposure to crystalline silica the average installer would encounter working on flooring.”

WFCA asked OSHA to revise the rule to exempt retail flooring dealers and installers from the new standard based on the intermittent and de minimis exposure of its employees and contractors to crystalline silica, especially if a dealer’s employees are not exposed to crystalline silica greater than the daily permissible amount for more than 30 days per year.

This effort was part of WFCA’s ongoing Public Policy program that monitors federal and state legislative and regulatory actions. “WFCA is committed to protecting its members,” Humphrey explained and “once we advise our members of the issue, they assembled and provided the needed information to oppose this overreaching standard.” OSHA will now review all the comments submitted to determine what the final standard will include.