The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking information and comments on additional engineering and work practice control methods to effectively limit exposure to silica for certain equipment and tasks.

The equipment and tasks are currently list on Table 1 of the agency’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction.

OSHA's silica standards require employers to limit worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica and take steps to protect workers.

OSHA is also considering 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.

Information submitted 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.

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.

OSHA says that if information submitted in response to this request indicates that revisions to the silica standards are needed, it will publish the proposed revisions in the Federal Register for public comment.

Comments and materials may be submitted electronically by Nov. 13.
They may also be submitted by facsimile or mail.

Earlier this year, OSHA posted new frequently asked questions on the agency's standard for respirable crystalline silica in general industry.

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

For more information, contact CBIA's Phillip Montgomery (860.244.1982).