Construction Federal agencies Silica Construction Workplace exposures

OSHA seeks comment on possible revisions to silica standard

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Washington — OSHA is requesting input on potential revisions to Table 1 of its respirable crystalline silica standard for construction, according to a Request for Information slated for publication in the Aug. 15 Federal Register.

Table 1 includes the task or equipment, engineering/work practice control methods, and required respiratory protection/minimum assigned protection factors for all shifts.

“OSHA seeks 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,” the agency states in an Aug. 14 press release. “The agency is also 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.”

Additionally, OSHA is considering potential revisions to paragraph (a)(3) of the 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 deadline to comment is Nov. 13. Any planned revisions to the silica standards will be published in the Federal Register at a later date.

“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,” the release states. “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.”

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