Law360 Guest Article: Employers May Face New Silica Rules When the Dust Settles


On Aug. 23, 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released notice of a proposed rule to set a new permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica, among other requirements for controlling workplace exposure to silica. For all industries (general, construction and maritime), the new rule would protect against silica exposure above the PEL of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air (50 μg/m3), averaged over an eight-hour day.

The proposed rule marks a dramatic change to the current PEL level as it would reduce the current PEL by 50 percent. In addition to reducing the PEL, the proposed rule also includes provisions for measuring how much silica workers are exposed to, limiting workers’ access to
areas where silica exposures are high, using effective methods for reducing exposures, providing medical exams to workers with high silica exposures and training workers about silica-related hazards and how to limit exposure.

Excerpted from Law360, September 13, 2013. To view full article, click here (subscription required).

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