OSHA has posted new frequently asked questions on the agency’s standard for respirable crystalline silica in general industry.

OSHA developed the extensive list of FAQs—64 in all—in consultation with industry and union stakeholders to provide guidance to employers and employees on the standard’s requirements, such as exposure assessments, regulated areas, methods of compliance, and communicating silica hazards to employees.

The questions and answers are organized by topic and include an introductory paragraph that provides background information about the regulatory requirements.

Final Rule

OSHA announced its final rule on respirable silica dust on March 25, 2016. According to the agency, the rule improves worker protection by:

  • Reducing the permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour shift
  • Requiring employers to use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) and work practices to limit worker exposure; provide respiratory protection when controls are not able to limit exposures to the permissible level; limit access to high exposure areas; train workers; and provide medical exams to highly exposed workers
  • Providing greater certainty and ease of compliance to construction employers—including many small employers—by including a table of specified controls they can follow to be in compliance, without having to monitor exposures
  • Staggering compliance dates to ensure employers have sufficient time to meet the requirements, e.g., extra time for the hydraulic fracturing industry to install new engineering controls and for all general industry employers to offer medical surveillance to employees exposed between the PEL and 50 micrograms per cubic meter and the action level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter

The final rule is written as two standards, one for construction and one for general industry and maritime.

Save the date: Operational issues related to the silica rules will be discussed at CBIA's Safety & Health Conference, May 17 in Cromwell. Conference details to come. 

CBIA's on-demand safety compliance training program (powered by Training Network Now) is a convenient, cost-effective way for you to protect your employees and your business. CBIA members save 90% off the regular price. Sign up or register for a free, no-obligation 14-day trial today!

Register now for the OSHA 10-Hour for General Industry Outreach program, Feb. 12–13 at the CBIA Conference Center in Hartford.