HR Alert

OSHA Delays Enforcement of New Crystalline Silica Rule for Construction Industry

Enforcement Now Expected to Begin September 23, 2017

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced a delay in enforcement of its new crystalline silica rule as it applies to the construction industry. Originally scheduled to begin June 23, 2017, enforcement is now expected to begin September 23, 2017.

Background

Crystalline silica is a common mineral found in many naturally occurring materials and used in many industrial products and at construction sites. Occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica commonly occurs when cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing concrete, brick, ceramic tiles, rock, and stone products.

In 2016, OSHA adopted a rule to limit certain workers' exposure to crystalline silica. The rule--which was to become applicable to several industries over a five-year period--was set to become applicable to the construction industry on June 23, 2017.

Enforcement Delay for Construction Industry

On April 6, 2017, OSHA announced a delay in its enforcement of the crystalline silica rule as it applies to the construction industry, from June 23, 2017, to September 23, 2017. Applicability dates for other industries, however, were unaffected.

Interim Guidance for Construction Industry

In the interim, OSHA expects employers in the construction industry to continue to take steps either to come into compliance with the new crystalline silica permissible exposure limit, or to implement specific dust controls for certain operations as provided in Table 1 of the rule. According to OSHA, construction employers should also continue to prepare to implement the rule's other requirements, including exposure assessment, medical surveillance, and employee training.

For more information on the crystalline silica rule, please click here.


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