OSHA Requests Additional Comment on Silica Rule to Ease Burden of Compliance

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OSHA is requesting information and comment on Table 1 of the agency’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction. OSHA seeks information on additional engineering and work practice control methods to effectively limit exposure to silica for the equipment and tasks currently listed on Table 1. Since the final rule was issued in 2016, NAHB pushed OSHA to look for ways to improve the workability of the significant requirements in the rule. The agency is also requesting information about other construction equipment and tasks that generate silica that it should consider adding to Table 1. In addition, OSHA is seeking comments about whether to revise paragraph (a)(3) of the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for General Industry to broaden the circumstances under which general industry and maritime employers would be permitted to comply with Table 1 of the silica standard for construction. Information submitted will allow OSHA to consider new developments and enhanced control methods for equipment that generates exposures to silica. Expanding Table 1 to include additional engineering and work practice control methods, equipment and tasks could provide employers with more flexibility and reduce regulatory burdens while maintaining protections for employees. Comments must be submitted by Oct. 15, 2019, and may be submitted through the Federal Register. OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard has been in force for nearly two years. NAHB and its members have been instrumental in shaping the standard and related materials. In August 2018, OSHA published FAQs on the standard. Through the Construction Industry Safety Coalition, NAHB was an important contributor to the formulation of this FAQ. The development stemmed from litigation filed against OSHA by numerous construction industry trade associations challenging the legality of the new silica rule. NAHB urges members to provide comments and other information per the OSHA request or provide this information to NAHB staff. For additional information, contact Rob Matuga at 800-368-5242 x8507 or Felicia Watson at 800-368-5242 x8229.

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