ASSP Establishing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force

We are establishing a board-level task force as part of our ongoing efforts to improve diversity, equity and inclusion within the Society and throughout the occupational safety and health profession. Volunteer today!

Count on ASSP for COVID-19 Resources

Visit our COVID-19 resource page to view the latest resources and education.


OSHA Begins Enforcement of the Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction: What will they be looking for?

Posted: Sep 26, 2017

By Renee Witherspoon, CSP, CIH, CHMM, South Plains Chapter, Past President (2012-2015)

Silica exposure during concrete block cutting/splitting (credit: OSHA)

As of September 23, 2017 OSHA began enforcement of its new Crystalline Silica standard (29 CFR 1926.1153) for Construction establishing an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) of 50 µg/m3, an action level (AL) of 25 µg/m3, as well as other requirements.

During the first 30 days of enforcement, OSHA will continue to evaluate good faith efforts taken by employers to meet this new standard. According to a September 20 memorandum from Thomas Galassi, Acting Deputy Assistance Secretary for OSHA, they will provide “compliance assistance and outreach to assure that covered employers are fully and properly complying with its requirements.” In the memo he says that OSHA will focus on assisting employers in implementing the controls described in Table 1. If an employer is not making any efforts to comply, the OSHA compliance officer will conduct air monitoring and the employer may receive a citation. If a citation is proposed within this first 30 days, it will be required to be reviewed by the national office.

This memo also states that OSHA is in the process of developing interim inspection and citation guidance but as of September 26, the local Lubbock Area Office has not received this interim guidance on enforcement.  With use of phrases like “fully and properly” in this September 20 memo, it does provide some guidance on what OSHA will be looking for when doing a compliance investigation.

Read More

September 19 meeting – POSTPONED to September 26th at 6:30 p.m.

Posted: Sep 19, 2017

Due to all of the response activities regarding the recent hurricane in the gulf, we have had to postpone our regular meeting on Sept. 19, and move it to Sept. 26. at 6:30 p.m. at River Smiths Chicken and Catfish in Lubbock.  Come at 6:00 p.m. for dinner and networking.

According to an email from Ben Maldonado, our President, we will be doing a Roundtable Discussion on several construction-related issues including:

  • Mulitple employer worksites
  • Fall protection (controlling/exposing)
  • Walking and Working Surfaces
  • Housekeeping
  • New Crystalline Silica Standard

Sorry for the late notice on the meeting change.  Hope to see you there.


TTUHSC hosts Lunch and Learn on Biological Safety Cabinets

Posted: Aug 30, 2017

By Renee Witherspoon, CSP, CIH, CHMM, Past President South Plains Chapter (2012-2015)

Kate McKee and Bernie Schwartz with ThermoFisher Scientific’speak at TTUHSC on BSCs.

On July 25, 2017 Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) in Lubbock again welcomed special guest speaker Bernard (Bernie) Schwartz, Product Specialist with the Laboratory Equipment Division of ThermoFisher Scientific.  Bernie’s presentation was on Biological Safety Cabinets or BSCs.  Kate McKee, MS, Territory Sales Representative with ThermoFisher was also present and assisted in the event. The program was a “Lunch and Learn” with ThermoFisher sponsoring the luncheon. A second hour of training was also provided where he focused on facility and engineering requirements for BSCs. This program was TechLinked to the regional campuses in Abilene, Amarillo, Permian Basin and at the El Paso main campus.

BSC’s and their Designations

A BSC is a primary containment device used when working with infectious microorganisms [Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) and 3 (BSL-3) agents].  BSCs are designed to provide personnel, environmental and product protection when appropriate practices and procedures are followed. Because it is a primary containment device, it must be routinely inspected and maintained to ensure proper operation. BSCs must be certified annually for sufficient airflow and filter integrity.

Bernie says Read More