OCCUSAFE CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety
Enforcement Launch of the New Silica Standard for Construction
After a three-month delay, the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for construction became enforceable on September 23, 2017. As per OSHA 1926.1153, the new standard establishes an Action Level of 25 ug/m3 and a Permissible Exposure Limit of 50 ug/m3. It also has requirements for an exposure assessment, regulated areas, engineering controls and work practices, respiratory protection, housekeeping, medical surveillance, and communication of hazards (including signage and training), and recordkeeping.
The Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of OSHA issued a directive that during the first 30 days of enforcement OSHA will carefully evaluate good faith efforts to comply with the standard. If during an inspection, the compliance officer finds that the employer is making such an effort he/she will not issue citations. Instead, the compliance officer will provide assistance in properly implementing the controls in Table 1. If the employer is not making any efforts to comply, the compliance officer will conduct exposure monitoring and if the result exceeds the Action Level and/or PEL the company will be considered for citation.
The actual Respirable Crystalline Silica standard took effect in July, 2016. Enforcement for construction was scheduled for July 23, 2017 and delayed until September 23, 2017. It is important that employers recognize that OSHA is serious about enforcing the standard and take the necessary steps to comply.
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