OSHA Delays Construction Silica Rule Enforcement Date

By on April 11, 2017

From Engineering News-Record:  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has pushed back the date on which it will begin to enforce its new, more-stringent silica dust exposure standard for the construction industry.

OSHA, part of the Dept. of Labor, said on April 6 that enforcement will start on Sept. 23, instead of June 23, the previous deadline. Construction unions were disappointed about the delay but construction industry groups are concerned about the rule’s feasibility and want OSHA to at least postpone enforcement for a year.

The agency said it will use the additional three months to do more outreach about the regulation and provide companies with more informational materials and guidance.

But North America’s Building Trades Unions are disappointed that the Labor Dept. pushed back the enforcement date, says Chris Trahan Cain, NABTU director of safety and health.

She added in an email: “The good news is, we know that many contractors are already reducing dust at the source with readily available controls. However, delaying enforcement will mean that those lagging contractors, who don’t control the dust already, will continue to expose their workers to this carcinogen”

The Construction Industry Safety Coalition—composed of 25 industry groups, including the Associated Builders and Contractors and Associated General Contractors of America—said in an April 6 statement, “While the CISC appreciates the 90-day delay in enforcement, the CISC remains concerned about the overall feasibility of the standard in construction and has requested that [OSHA] delay enforcement for a year.”

The coalition also said that it “is pleased that OSHA has recognized the need to develop guidance material for the construction industry before enforcing the silica rule, and we remain committed to working with the agency to create a feasible standard that promotes safe and healthy jobsites.’

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