By: Michael Peelish, Esq.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) final rule on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica in Construction, published on March 25, 2016, established a new Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) and contained several other significant requirements pertaining to both construction and to general industry/maritime. The construction rule’s provisions were codified at 29 CFR §1926.1153 and enforcement originally was scheduled to commence for most provisions on June 23, 2017. The enforcement deadline has been extended by OSHA for three months, until September 23, 2017. The general industry/maritime provisions are still slated to take effect on June 23, 2018.
OSHA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary stated that the construction standard for crystalline silica has several unique features that warrant development of additional guidance materials. The delay in enforcement will allow OSHA to conduct additional outreach to the regulated community, train compliance officers, and develop educational materials for employers and enforcement guidance. OSHA staff will provide guidance to employers on what steps they can take to ensure that they are in compliance with the new provisions, which include a reduction in the respirable crystalline silica PEL from 250 ug/m3 (for an 8-hour TWA) to 50
ug/m3 for the same period.
The reductions must be achieved by using effective engineering and work practice controls, supplemented with respiratory protection, as warranted.
Our firm has established Abrams Safety & Health Consulting, as a consulting division, to expand its non-legal services to its clients. The consulting arm personnel hold professional certifications including CSP, CIH, CMSP and MSP, as well as engineering expertise. As part of this expansion, Abrams Consulting is focusing on silica-related services such as assessing exposure, drafting written exposure control plans, and advising employers on engineering controls and work practice controls. The professional staff also conducts safety and health audits of mining, construction, and industrial operations.
For more information about Abrams Safety & Health Consulting, and our unique approach to providing safety and health compliance assistance, proactive program development support, and training services, see our new website: http://www.abramssafety.com.