OSHA Now Fully Enforcing Construction Silica Standard

A memo issued Oct. 19 says as of Oct. 23, 2017, the agency is fully enforcing “all appropriate provisions” of the standard.

A memo issued Oct. 19 from Patrick J. Kapust, acting director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, explains that the agency is now fully enforcing its construction silica standard. It says as of Oct. 23, 2017, the agency is fully enforcing "all appropriate provisions" of the standard.

The standard sets a new eight-hour time weighted average permissible exposure limit of 50 µg/m3 and an action level of 25 µg/m3.

It explains that OSHA has been enforcing the standard since Sept. 23, 2017, but, for the first 30 days, the agency offered compliance assistance instead of enforcement for employers that were making good-faith efforts to comply. The memo says it will serve as interim enforcement guidance while the standard's companion compliance directive is proceeding through the review process and will expire when the compliance directive becomes effective and available to the compliance safety and health officers in the field.

Also, it says because of the new standard's requirements, OSHA has revoked its crystalline silica national emphasis program, but the inspection procedures for both general industry and maritime will remain unchanged until the compliance date for those industries begins June 23, 2018.

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