Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas Galassi issued a memorandum on Interim Enforcement Guidance for the Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction Standard. The memo to regional administrators provides interim enforcement guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for enforcing the standard, stating: “Effective Oct. 23, 2017, OSHA will fully enforce all appropriate provisions of the Silica in Construction standard. This memorandum will serve as interim enforcement guidance while the standard’s companion compliance directive is proceeding through the review process. It will expire when the compliance directive becomes effective and available to the field.”
Please review the Oct. 19 memorandum and attachments here.
The Interim Enforcement Guidance memo follows the Sept. 20 memorandum, issued by Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Galassi, which announced a 30-day enforcement phase-in to offer compliance assistance to employers making good faith efforts to comply.
On Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. EDT, ABC National will offer ABC members a webinar on OSHA’s final silica rule. Register here.
Silica remains a top priority for ABC National and we continue to have conversations with the U.S. Department of Labor. We will update you with any new developments.
Below are informational resources.
ABC, along with a coalition of construction groups, is litigating the final rule. The case is in the U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit.
Resources on the Silica Final Rule:
--OSHA Resource Page
--Silica Final Rule
--Fact Sheet on Construction
--Small Entity Compliance Guide—Construction
--Frequently Asked Questions
Background on the Silica Final Rule:
Issued on March 25, 2016, OSHA’s Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica final rule lowers the permissible exposure limit from the current standard of 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour day, and an action level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air. In addition, the final rule requires contractors to follow several ancillary provisions, such as housekeeping and written exposure plans. Crystalline silica is ubiquitous on construction sites by virtue of its presence in many commonly used construction materials and products such as concrete, bricks, stone, asphalt, tile and countertops.
On April 6, 2017, OSHA delayed enforcement of the silica standard as it applies to the construction industry from June 23, 2017, to Sept. 23, 2017. On March 10, 2017, ABC, as a member of the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), sent a letter to the acting secretary of Labor requesting that the department delay enforcement of OSHA’s final silica rule by one year.
Since the rule was proposed in 2013, ABC has voiced serious concerns with the rule and has taken the following actions:
--ABC’s 2014 comment letter on the proposed rule
--More than 600 ABC members joined ABC National in submitting comments
--CISC’s 2014 comment letter on the proposed rule
--ABC’s post-hearing comment letter
--CISC’s post-hearing comment letter
--CISC’s hearing testimony
--CISC Economic Feasibility Study
--CISC extension request for silica compliance
This is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact ABC’s vice president of HSE and workforce development, Greg Sizemore, at firstname.lastname@example.org or ABC’s director of safety, Steve Wiltshire, at email@example.com.