On Monday, March 28, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a final rule that would drastically lower the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of respirable crystalline silica for the construction industry. The changes are scheduled to take effect on June 23, 2016. Construction employers must comply with the requirements of the standard by June 23, 2017, except for requirements for laboratory evaluation of exposure samples, which begin on June 23, 2018.
Please see ABC National's ABC-led Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) press release on the final rule.
The final rule lowers the PEL 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. The final rule introduces a Table 1 which lists 18 construction tasks and exposure control methods. Some of the other major provisions in the rule include: establishing and implementing a written exposure control plan, designating a competent person to implement the written exposure plan, offering medical exams, training workers, and keeping records of workers’ silica exposure and medical exams. ABC National staff and outside counsel are reviewing the final rule’s 1,772 pages and will provide further guidance and analysis in the near future.
Additionally, ABC National is weighing its options regarding a legal challenge. ABC National will continue to keep ABC chapters and members informed of any developments.
ABC has been an active participant throughout the rulemaking process, and led the CISC in creating a robust record.