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Plattco Corporation – Silica Compliance

Plattco Corporation operates an iron foundry in Plattsburgh, New York and was challenged to lower their indoor air quality silica concentration levels. Plattco began operation in 1897, well before modern ventilation practices became common place. Retrofitting an older facility with modern ventilation designs and associated equipment can be a challenge. Plattco recognized this and began planning for this well before OSHA’s silica rule (29 CFR 1910.1053) went final in 2018 and requested assistance from TRC to evaluate and recommend approaches to lower their indoor silica levels to the extent feasibility.

TRC met this challenge by utilizing expertise across our EHS Services including industrial hygiene, process ventilation design and environmental air quality permitting specialists. The industrial hygiene team began by sampling personnel using traditional OSHA silica sampling methods. However, recognizing that traditional sampling methods may not always point to potential root causes of silica exposure, TRC also utilized real-time instrumentation for respirable dust monitoring to help identify the root causes and track indoor air circulation patterns. The combination of this data allowed TRC’s mechanical engineers to focus on the most productive ventilation designs for not only reducing silica exposures, but also cost effectively working with existing equipment arrangements to produce the best outcomes. Part of the ventilation redesign required some processes to be properly vented outdoors, which engaged TRC’s environmental air quality permitting specialists to work with state regulators to obtain the required air quality permit for the facility.

TRC was able to perform the required employee silica sampling consistent with OSHA’s silica rule and then take it a step further by modifying sampling approaches that worked hand-in-hand with our mechanical engineers to design the appropriate ventilation for maximum benefits in the workplace. This data was then sent to our air quality permitting specialists, who worked with regulators to obtain the required air quality permits for installation of the new equipment. All of these actions helped Plattco achieve its desired goal of lowering its actual and potential silica exposures ahead of OSHA’s silica rule going into effect.

This project illustrates a key market differentiator for TRC. We can thoroughly assess the problem with our industrial hygiene staff, provide design solutions with process engineering staff and obtain necessary permits with in-house environmental regulatory staff.

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