OSHA to Begin Enforcement of Respirable Crystalline Silica Standards for General and Maritime Industries

In March 2016, OSHA published the updated respirable crystalline silica rule for all industries. On June 23, 2018, OSHA will begin enforcement of most of the provisions of the standard for general industry and maritime businesses, including a new eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 µg/m3, an action level (AL) of 25 µg/m3, and associated ancillary requirements.

In a memorandum to the regional administrators, the acting Deputy Assistant Secretary announced that OSHA will assist employers that make a good faith effort to meet the new requirements with compliance in the first 30 days of enforcement.1   The memorandum did not indicate the exact measures OSHA will take to help employers. OSHA will conduct air monitoring and consider citations for non-compliance if it appears that an employer is not making efforts to comply with the new requirements. Proposed citations related to inspections conducted in the first 30 days will be reviewed by the National Office before being issued.

OSHA will begin enforcement of the construction standard requirement for sample analysis in 29 CFR 1926.1153(d)(2)(v) on June 23, 2018.*

*Special thanks to 2018 Summer Associate Victor Noriega, student at Vanderbilt School of Law, for his assistance with this article.

1  Enforcement Launch for the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard in General Industry and Maritme, 29 CFR § 1910.1053, OSHA.Gov, (June 7, 2018).

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