Silica Dust Takes On A Whole New Meaning

Silica Dust Takes On A Whole New Meaning

Caution to our Friends in the Construction Industry

“Silicon dioxide (or silica) is a known hazard to the occupants of a facility and surrounding properties,” disclosure of its presence is now necessary, before renovation or purchase.

According to OSHA, Silica can come in either non-crystalline or crystalline form. It’s found in many construction materials – drywall, asphalt, plaster, and other materials that are associated with construction and manufacturing facilities.

Workers in different trades are at risk of silica exposure. When materials containing silica are cut or crushed, particles become airborne and can create a health threat to anyone that comes in contact with the dust.

To minimize risks, OSHA changed the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica in 2016. The change is a first in over 40 years. The old PEL was 250 µg/m3, while the new PEL is only 50 µg/m3. On top of that, the new “action level” can be only 25 µg/m3 for a typical shift.

The updated rule, 29 CFDR 1926.1153, was enforced by OSHA on Sept. 23, 2017, and the entire construction industry is now required to comply.

There is a big reduction from the old PEL to the new PEL, so current processes must be changed to remain compliant. All stakeholders will have to make adjustments.

Contractors can either take care of their own dust control processes or work with specially trained consulting firms to help them meet the new requirements:

Here are some of the new requirements that impact the construction and trades industries;

1. Provide water sprays that produce a continuous water feed to facilitate wet cutting or sawing. This decreases the amount of airborne silica dust, thus reducing the risk of exposure. For dust not watered down, a HEPA vacuum should be used to collect all particles in a sealed container. If water and dust controls aren’t enough, provide respirators.

2. Write an exposure control plan which lists duties that involve silica, as well as strategies to minimize exposure when said duties are performed. OSHA requires clear descriptions of procedures to make them easy to follow. And more importantly, hire someone capable to execute the plan.

3. Train staff on the risks of silica and strategies for exposure limitation. They should be taught how to properly use equipment and controls, and how to perform medical procedures for medical surveillance.

Contractors may have to buy new tools, machines, and equipment to fulfill the requirements above. Other costs include training, education, record-keeping, and surveillance – all recurring costs which are to be factored into proposals.

Contractors who fail to implement and abide are subject to huge fines, which are assessed at $12,675 per violation per day, beyond the specified abatement date. Repeated offenses are reported to be assessed at $126,749 per violation.

OSHA estimates the annual cost of compliance to be $1 billion, though some industry groups place it somewhere between $4 billion and $5 billion. Nevertheless, OSHA is confident that the health and safety benefits to working-class Americans will significantly outweigh the costs.

The latest ruling will force major changes across an array of impacted industries, prompting experts to call it disruptive. For example, companies now have big reasons to adopt new technologies such as digital filing, to help with required compliance and record-keeping.

The new OSHA regulations are expected to have a challenging impact on manufacturing facilities and construction industry owners. Under the new laws, business owners will be required to take on a more proactive role – or face potentially financially crippling governmental fines and governmental restrictions.

UWIB can assist our clients to connect with consultants that are trained to help business owners address OSHA compliance requirements of all sorts, including these. For a cost-free consultation, please contact us and type OSHA Consulting in the subject line.

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Introducing our New Easy to Use CLIENTportal for our Home, Auto and Family Clients

Introducing our New Easy to Use CLIENTportal for our Home, Auto and Family Clients

At UWIB, it’s our passion to work for you and your family. To remain relevant and to improve our service to those of you who like technology, we’ve integrated some new technology. With the tools in our Digital Toolbox, you can elect to have greater control over your insurance.

Want access to your policies, even if our office is closed, no problem. Using CLIENTportal or our mobile app your policies are accessible 24/7. Get acquainted with UWIB’s new CLIENTportal!


Receive the support you need, when you need it. The prompt service you expect from us has gotten even faster. No more waiting until business hours for access to your insurance. We’ve placed the power in your hands. Here are a few of features we hear our clients telling us they love:

View, Email, Fax or Print Your Auto ID Cards

Had an accident and need proof of coverage? Your auto ID card is available instantly on CLIENTportal or if you save it to your smartphone app.

Quick Overview Of Your Policy’s Limits

Want to check your home, auto, rental property, RV or umbrella limits? Want to request a quick change, add or remove a vehicle? The portal allows you this freedom, instantly, from anywhere you’ve got internet access.

Alert Us Of A Loss

Had an incident while on vacation or after regular business hours, no worries, you can get the process started through CLIENTportal.

What Does This Mean for You and Your Family?

With CLIENTportal, your life doesn’t have to be put on hold when it’s time to take care of business. Take back your time and enjoy the freedom and mobility of UWIB’s CLIENTportal, anytime, 24/7.

Click here and enjoy a quick 60-second clip, then sign up for access, it’s free to all UWIB clients.

It’s our business to understand that life happens. We’re empowering our clients in new and innovative ways so you’re not confined to the typical 9 to 5 structure of the world of insurance.

Whether it’s an accident, an unexpected loss, the purchase of a new car, or you just want to see what your coverages are, CLIENTportal extends UWIB’s good old fashioned service and gives you the freedom, and the tools to do things your way, and on your timeline.

Need an important document? Log in and email or print it instantly.

Concerned about sending sensitive information via e-mail? No more worries, the UWIB CLIENTportal is secure. Share and receive secure documents with confidence.

For more than 50 years we’ve worked to combine experience, dedication, and technology to provide our clients with excellent customer experiences. UWIB’s CLIENTportal is personalized and designed to fit your immediate needs.

No more waiting for a return call or email, insurance solutions are available on your terms and timeline.

So when you’re ready to take advantage of both the convenience and security of our newest digital tool, please visit the portal!  Click here and enjoy a quick 60-second clip, then sign up for access, it’s free to all UWIB clients.

Introducing our New Easy to Use CLIENTportal for our HR Benefits and Professional Liability Clients

Introducing our New Easy to Use CLIENTportal for our Home, Auto and Family Clients

At United Western Insurance Brokers (UWIB), we have been providing quality customer experiences for over 5 decades. To continually provide excellent service, we have made use of the latest technology to help our business protect yours.

By integrating readily available, high quality, personalized service with new mobile technologies, UWIB has steadily worked to assist our customers. Our newest innovation takes it a step further. Get acquainted with UWIB’s new CLIENTportal!


We are proud to present our new client portal. With this recent addition, we have added a new layer of service. The client portal gives you control and convenience. Get the information you want and need without waiting for assistance. Day or night, weekends or weekdays, our client portal offers the availability and flexibility to do business on your own terms!

You now have the power to manage your company’s insurance the way you see fit. You gain the freedom and the transparency. The electronic portal is secure and provides you with greater control over your policy.

Just like our app, you aren’t locked into accessing the portal on a desktop. Whether you or your employees are on your way to a meeting or sitting down for lunch, our portal is accessible on phone, laptop, or tablet. Our client portal offers 24/7 access to vital information. Manage insurance whenever, however, and wherever you please.

Click here and enjoy a quick 60-second clip, then sign up for access, it’s free to all UWIB clients.

Let’s take a look at some the features:

• View and Issue Certificates of Insurance

• View Important Documents

• Manage Group Benefits

• Heightened Security for Your Business

• Update Coverage Benefits

• Add People to Policies

• Submit Claims

• Check the Enrollment Status of Employees

• Increased Availability for HR

• Access Policy Information

Need a document? You no longer have to wait for a couple of weeks for something you need now. And you certainly don’t want to have to pay for overnight delivery. Don’t worry. Print out your business’ important documents right when you need it directly from the CLIENTportal. A few quick clicks and you’re done.

We recognize the importance of immediate access to important information for your business. For employees, the CLIENTportal means they can navigate the history of documents as well as review and modify business information. Print documents immediately. It’s all available when you want it.

Worried about sensitive information being sent through email? You have every right to be. Business and employee information sent through emails and phone calls can easily get into the wrong hands. Not any longer! Think of a CLIENTportal as a secure, protected website. Only authorized users can access information. If HR needs to send a document to an employee, they can do so quickly and securely.

Best of all, the CLIENTportal is available to all clients of UWIB. What are you waiting for? Ready to conveniently manage your insurance online? Click here and enjoy a quick 60-second clip, then sign up for access, it’s free to all UWIB clients.