OSHA to evaluate “good faith efforts” to meet silica standard

Agency will offer assistance to assure full and proper compliance

Posted September 22, 2017

An OSHA memorandum explains how the Agency will enforce the Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction Standard. The memo, from Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas Galassi to OSHA regional administrators, says that during the first 30 days of enforcement, OSHA will “carefully evaluate good faith efforts taken by employers in their attempts to meet the new construction silica standard.”

The silica standard, effective September 23, 2017, establishes an 8-hour time weighted average of 50 micrograms per cubic meter, and sets an action level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter. OSHA reiterated that it will assist employers who are making good faith efforts to meet the new requirements to assure understanding and compliance.

The memo says the Agency will offer compliance assistance and outreach to assure covered employers are fully and properly complying with the new requirements. Further, because the Table 1 approach is so new, OSHA plans to focus on helping employers properly implement the controls in the table.

On the other hand, if upon inspection, OSHA believes an employer is not making any efforts to comply, the inspection will not only include collection of exposure air monitoring performed per Agency procedures, but those employers may also be considered for citation.

Galassi reminds inspectors that proposed citations related to inspections conducted in this time period will require National Office review. Regional offices are advised to contact OSHA’s Office of Health Enforcement with questions regarding enforcement of the new silica rule.

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