OSHA delays enforcement of silica rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that it will delay enforcement of its silica rule for the construction industry for 90 days.

That moves the enforcement date from June 23 to the new deadline of Sept. 23, 2017.
The agency cited the reason for the delay was to secure additional guidance for the rule due to the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standard.

Despite the three-month stay, OSHA said it expects construction employers to continue taking steps to ensure they are compliant by the new enforcement date, when they must reduce workers' allowed exposure to silica dust from the current limit of 250 micrograms per cubic meter over an eight-hour period to 50 micrograms.

OSHA issued its final silica rule in March 2016, significantly reducing permitted exposure to crystalline silica with the aim of decreasing cases of silicosis in workers. OSHA reports the new rule will save the lives of more than 560 construction workers and prevent approximately 1,080 cases of silicosis among the industry's workforce.

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