OSHA moving toward making revisions to silica standard for construction

Aug. 9, 2019

The agency is looking into the effectiveness of control measures not currently listed in Table 1 of the construction standard

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently submitted a request seeking information on the effectiveness of control measures not currently included in Table 1 of the agency's construction standard for silica.

"The Agency is also interested in tasks and tools involving exposure to respirable crystalline silica that are not currently listed in Table 1, along with information on the effectiveness of dust control methods in limiting worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica when performing those operations," a document from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) states.

If approved by the OMB, OSHA intends to issue the Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register to determine if revisions to Table 1 may be appropriate.

In March 2016, OSHA issued a final rule on silica dust exposure, with the intent to curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease in America's workers by limiting their exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

The construction standard for silica exposure includes Table 1: Specified Exposure Control Methods When Working With Materials Containing Crystalline Silica, which identifies common construction tasks and establishes dust control methods—including respirator usage—that have been shown to be effective in protecting against silica exposure.

If issued, OSHA's RFI could lead to revisions to Table 1 that would identify additional common construction tasks with corresponding dust control methods. This, in turn, could make it easier for construction employers to address respirable silica exposure.

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SOURCE: National Law Review / Office of Management and Budget