OSHA seeks comments on silica standard for construction

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is requesting information and comment on Table 1 of the agency’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction.

OSHA is seeking information on additional engineering and work practice control methods to effectively limit exposure to silica for the equipment and tasks currently listed on Table 1. The agency is also requesting information about other construction equipment and tasks that generate silica that it should consider adding to Table 1, along with information about their associated engineering and work practice control methods.

In addition, OSHA is seeking comments about whether to broaden paragraph (a)(3) of the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for General Industry to include general industry and maritime employers and permit them to comply with Table 1 of the silica standard for construction.

Information submitted will allow OSHA to consider new developments and enhanced control methods for equipment that generates exposures to silica. It will also provide additional data on exposures to silica from equipment and tasks using a variety of control methods under different workplace conditions. Expanding Table 1 to include additional engineering and work practice control methods, equipment and tasks could provide employers with more flexibility and reduce regulatory burdens while maintaining protections for employees, OSHA says.

If information submitted in response to this request indicates that revisions to the silica standards are needed, the agency will then publish the proposed revisions in the Federal Register for public comment.

Comments must be submitted by Oct. 14. Comments and materials may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, on the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, or by facsimile or mail. See the Federal Register notice for submission details.