OSHA delays enforcement of crystalline silica rule

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced a delay in enforcement of the crystalline silica standard that applies to the construction industry to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers.

The agency says it has determined that additional guidance is necessary due to the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standard. Originally scheduled to begin June 23, 2017, enforcement will now begin Sept. 23, 2017.

OSHA says it expects employers in the construction industry to continue to take steps either to come into compliance with the new permissible exposure limit, or to implement specific dust controls for certain operations as provided in Table 1 of the new standard.

OSHA adds, construction employers should continue to prepare to implement the standard’s other requirements, including exposure assessment, medical surveillance and employee training.

Washington-based National Demolition Association President Scott Knightly said in a statement sent to members, “NDA is pleased that OSHA has recognized the importance of delaying the rule’s enforcement to collect more data, in addition to developing written guidance. NDA is dedicated to working with OSHA to ensure the rule is effective and workable, and this is a practical step towards promoting healthy and safe workplaces.”

NDA was among a group of trade associations that filed petition for review of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) final silica rule with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in April.

New York cracks down on illegal C&D dumping

© Voyagerix | Dreamstime.com

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the state has issued close to 200 tickets following a two-day crackdown on illegal dumping of solid waste Feb. 15 and 16, 2017 The enforcement was conducted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), the New York State Police, New York State’s Department of Transportation and the Suffolk County Police.

The law enforcement groups targeted illegal dumping of contaminated construction and demolition debris at disposal sites across Long Island, New York City and the Mid-Hudson Valley of the state. The crackdown led to 28 truck drivers being ticketed and 167 additional tickets issued for various misdemeanors and other serious safety violations of the state’s Environmental Conservation Law.

Governor Cuomo’s office noted that C&D debris can legally contain a mixture of allowable materials such as concrete, asphalt, rock, brick and soil, that can be disposed of at facilities as they do not pose an environmental threat. However, the governor’s office adds, illegal C&D debris commingles materials such as asbestos, treated lumber, petroleum products, roofing shingles or soil from historically contaminated areas.

Police identified nine illegal dumping sites during the detail and issued tickets ranging from unlawful disposal of solid waste to operating a solid waste management facility without a permit and allowing illegal emission violations, uncovered debris, leaking materials and overweight loads. Ten vehicles were put out of service due to serious safety issues. Recently, NYSDEC says it has documented an upswing of illegal C&D debris disposal in the state.