On April 6th, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a delay in enforcement of the crystalline silica standard that applies to the construction industry.
The final rule on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica in Construction was initally published on March 25, 2016. This established a new Permissable Exposure Limit and consisted of additional provisions and rules that apply to the construction industry.
The enforcement delay is intended to conduct additional outreach efforts to employers in the construction community as well as provide educational materials and guidance. OSHA reports that additional guidance is necessary “due to the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standard”. Enforcement was scheduled to begin June 23, 2017, however, the delay pushes enforcement back to September 23, 2017.
Industry experts recommend construction employers continue to take steps to either to come into compliance with the new permissible exposure limit, or to implement specific dust controls for certain operations as provided in Table 1 of the standard. Construction employers should also continue to prepare to implement the standard’s other requirements, including exposure assessment, medical surveillance and employee training.