OSHA recently issued its final rule on protecting workers from occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The final rule, which has been in development for more than 15 years, will be OSHA’s first updated regulation for silica since 1971.
The rule contains two standards, one for construction and one for general industry and maritime. The changes to the rule include a lower permissible exposure limit (PEL), engineering controls, protective equipment, medical exams, and more. See some of the key changes to the rule, the compliance schedule, and additional guidance below.
The key changes include:
Both standards contained in the final rule take effect on June 23, 2016, after which industries have one to five years to comply with most requirements, based on the following schedule:
Construction - June 23, 2017, one year after the effective date.
General Industry and Maritime - June 23, 2018, two years after the effective date.
Hydraulic Fracturing - June 23, 2018, two years after the effective date for all provisions except Engineering Controls, which have a compliance date of June 23, 2021. (OSHA)
For more information on this rule, visit the OSHA web-page on the final rule. The page contains several additional pieces of information and guidance, such as: