OSHA Finalizes New Silica Exposure Standard

Last week, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finalized a new standard for exposure to respirable crystalline silica. While NRMCA is still analyzing all 606 pages in the rule, it appears that many of the concerns the industry voiced with the proposal were held over into the final rule. Specifically, the rule halves the permissible expose limit (PEL) from 100 μg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter of air) to 50 μg/m3. The rule also contains an action level of 25 μg/m3, which would trigger employee medical surveillance. As well, the rule will require, in part:

1. Limiting employees access to areas with an exposure potential above the new PEL;
2. Respiratory protection for employees exposed to levels above the PEL when other controls cannot be used;
3. Specific housekeeping requirements;
4. A new written exposure control plan;
5. Employee medical exams and surveillance;
6. Recordkeeping requirements; and
7. Employee training.

The compliance date for the rule’s provisions is June 23, 2018. However, employee medical surveillance won’t be required until June 23, 2020. NRMCA will be working closely with the Operations, Environmental and Safety Committee Safety Task Group to compile and draft compliance assistance materials for the industry.
For more information, contact Gary Mullings at gmullings@nrmca.org or Kevin Walgenbach at kwalgenbach@nrmca.org.

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association