OSHA Delays Enforcement of Crystalline Silica Standard in Construction Industry

On April 6, 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that enforcement of the crystalline silica standard set forth in the final rule on Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica as it applies to the construction industry has been delayed.

The final rule is intended to reduce the amount of silica dust workers can be exposed to on the job by requiring impacted employers to implement specified controls and practices. It went into effect on June 23, 2016, with the date for initial enforcement scheduled for June 23, 2017.

With this delay, the new enforcement date for the construction industry is September 23, 2017. During this delay, OSHA will conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers.

According to the announcement, impacted employers should continue to take steps to either come into compliance with the new permissible exposure limit, or implement specific dust controls for certain operations as provided in Table 1 of the standard. Additionally, OSHA indicated that employers should continue to prepare to implement the other requirements in the final rule, including exposure assessment, medical surveillance, and employee training.

Other industries impacted by the rule — general industry and maritime — are not required to comply until June 23, 2018, and the delay does not impact this enforcement deadline.

Read OSHA’s Fact Sheet about the construction industry standard. Note: The fact sheet was completed before the final rule was delayed and does not consider the new compliance dates for the construction industry.

About Nicole Quinn-Gato, JD

Nicole Quinn-Gato is one of ThinkHR’s legal editors. She assists with the creation and management of ThinkHR’s online resource library and is a licensed attorney with nearly nine years of experience working on healthcare-related legal, compliance, and public policy issues.