Image source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released interim enforcement guidance for its Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction Standard, which is to be enforced in full on Oct. 23.
The guidance was issued Oct. 19 in a memorandum to OSHA regional administrators from Patrick Kapust, deputy director of the agency’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs. The guidance is to be used to help gauge whether employers meet various requirements, including those for inspections and avoiding citations. The guidance also provides flow charts for evaluating employer methods of controlling worker exposure to silica.
The memo indicates that a final compliance directive is in the review process, and that the document does not provide guidance on all the standard’s provisions.
The standard establishes a new permissible exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica at 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air averaged during an 8-hour shift—that PEL is five times lower than the previous limit for construction.
The standard went into effect Sept. 23 after an earlier delay. However, OSHA granted an additional 30 days to comply to employers found to be acting in “good faith” to meet the new requirements.
Source: Safety & Health Magazine