U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance to Ensure Enforcement of Silica Standards

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a compliance directive designed to ensure uniformity in inspection and enforcement procedures when addressing respirable crystalline silica exposures in general industry, maritime and construction.

The new directive provides OSHA compliance safety and health officers with
guidance on how to enforce the silica standards’ requirements, including:
• Methods of compliance;
• Table 1 tasks and specified exposure control methods;
• Exposure assessments;
• Housekeeping;
• Respiratory protection;
• Regulated areas;
• Recordkeeping;
• Employee information and training;
• Medical surveillance; and
• Communication of hazards.

The directive also provides clarity on major topics, such as alternative exposure control methods when a construction employer does not fully and properly implement Table 1: Specified Exposure Control Methods When Working With Materials Containing Crystalline Silica, variability in sampling, multi-employer situations and temporary workers.

OSHA began enforcing most provisions of the construction standard in September 2017, with enforcement of the requirements for sample analysis starting in June 2018.

Online Resources

OSHA’s Crystalline Silica for Construction Page: https://bit.ly/3i36NWj

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH)
General Silica Page: https://bit.ly/3fcTlxc

NIOSH’s Engineering Controls for Silica in Construction Page:

The Center for Construction Research and Training’s Silica Website:

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