OSHA Enforcement of Silica Rules
has been Delayed
New compliance date is September 23, 2017
On April 6, OSHA announced that it was delaying enforcement of the new rules for preventing exposure to silica dust. The new final rule on exposure to silica dust came out in 2016. It contained new and revised standards for construction and general industry. Originally, OSHA had planned to start enforcing the provisions of the construction standard on June 23, 2017. The announcement on April 6th moved enforcement of the construction standard back to September 23, 2017. Note that enforcement of the general industry standard is still scheduled for June 23, 2018.
If you receive Standard Subscription Weekly Safety Meetings, the Meeting for May 15 addresses silica exposure and it mentions that the new rules take effect on June 23, 2017 (column 1, paragraph 3). OSHA’s announcement on April 6th was too late for us to change the content of this Meeting and still get it to you in a timely fashion.
If you’d like a new version of the May 15th Weekly Safety Meeting with the new enforcement date, you can download both the English and Spanish versions here:
Silica safety has not been delayed.
The hazards of silica dust exposure have not changed. If your employees are exposed to silica dust, they are at risk now; those risks aren’t waiting until September 23. Protecting workers from silica exposure is the right thing to do. You can start, or continue, to work on being compliant with the new rules even though OSHA isn’t going to enforce those rules until September.
Need more information?
- OSHA has an entire portion of their website dedicated to the new rule and compliance assistance: https://www.osha.gov/silica/index.html
- The National Safety Council published a brief, high-level description of the situation here.
- Check silica information from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) here.
- The story of the Hawks Nest Tunnel disaster can be found here.