U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance to Ensure Uniform Enforcement of Silica Standards

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a compliance directive designed to ensure uniformity in inspection and enforcement procedures when addressing respirable crystalline silica exposures in general industry, maritime, and construction.

The new directive provides OSHA compliance safety and health officers with guidance on how to enforce the silica standards’ requirements, including:

  • Methods of compliance;
  • Table 1 tasks and specified exposure control methods;
  • Exposure assessments;
  • Housekeeping;
  • Respiratory protection;
  • Regulated areas;
  • Recordkeeping;
  • Employee information and training;
  • Medical surveillance; and
  • Communication of hazards.

The directive also provides clarity on major topics, such as alternative exposure control methods when a construction employer does not fully and properly implement Table 1, variability in sampling, multi-employer situations, and temporary workers.

OSHA began enforcing most provisions of the construction standard in September 2017, with enforcement of the requirements for sample analysis starting in June 2018. Enforcement of most of the general industry and maritime standards began in June 2018, with enforcement of some medical surveillance requirements commencing on June 23, 2020. On June 23, 2021, OSHA will begin enforcing requirements for engineering controls for hydraulic fracturing operations in the oil and gas industry.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

U.S. Department of Labor Proposes to Revise Beryllium Standard for General Industry

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today issued a proposed rule to revise the beryllium standard for general industry. The proposed changes are designed to clarify the standard, and to simplify or improve compliance with the standard.

The proposed rule would amend selected paragraphs of the standard, including “Definitions,” “Methods of Compliance,” “Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment,” “Hygiene Areas and Practices,” “Housekeeping,” “Medical Surveillance,” “Hazard Communication,” and “Recordkeeping.” It would also remove the existing Appendix A, which lists suggested controls, and replace it with a new Appendix A, Operations for Establishing Beryllium Work Areas.

Comments, hearing requests, and other information must be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or by facsimile or mail. Read the Federal Register notice for submission details. Comments must be submitted by February 9, 2019. The enforcement date for the provisions affected by this proposal is December 12, 2018. While this rulemaking is pending, compliance with the standard as modified by this proposal will be accepted as compliance.

The proposal satisfies a settlement agreement with stakeholders that had concerns about some of the provisions in the 2017 beryllium final rule. The proposed rule would affect approximately 50,500 workers employed in general industry, and is estimated to yield minor net cost savings to employers. OSHA expects the proposed changes would provide employees with equivalent safety and health protections to the current standard.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

General Industry and Maritime Silica Standard Effective June 23

 

General industry and maritime employers must comply with OSHA’s silica standard by June 23, except for phase-in dates for General Industry and Maritime Silica Standard Effective June 23medical surveillance and for engineering controls in the oil and gas industry. Visit the silica webpage for guidance on complying with the standard, as well as information on silica sampling and analysis, health effects of silica exposure, and answers to frequently asked questions.