OSHA to Publish Request for Information Related to Silica Rule in the Federal Register
The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a request for information (RFI) in the Federal Register regarding Table 1 of OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction. Table 1 applies specifically to construction. It lists 18 silica-generating tasks along with specific engineering controls and respirator requirements. Employers who follow these requirements fully and completely do not have to do silica air monitoring and will be assumed to be below the permissible exposure limit.
Specifically, 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. Additionally, the agency is 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.
OSHA is also soliciting feedback on whether to revise paragraph (a)(3) of the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for General Industry to broaden the circumstances under which general industry and maritime employers would be permitted to comply with the silica standard for construction as an alternative to the general industry standard.
The information submitted pursuant to this RFI will allow OSHA to consider new developments and enhanced control methods for equipment that generates exposures to silica and provide additional data on exposures to silica from equipment and tasks using a variety of control methods under different workplace conditions. Further, OSHA contends that 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.
Comments responding to this Request for Information must be submitted by November 13, 2019 via the eRulemaking portal using Docket ID OSHA-2010-0034.