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Silica hearings offer unique opportunity

March 13, 2014

The next three weeks are shaping up to be interesting for OSHA, as far as its proposed rule on crystalline silica is concerned.

Beginning March 18 and running through April 4, OSHA will host a series of informal public meetings on the proposed rule. An administrative law judge will preside over the hearings, and stakeholders from union groups, industry representatives, associations, scientists, medical professionals and more are scheduled to make presentations.

But it won’t simply be a rehash of comments already submitted. According to the hearing procedures, participants will be able to question others on their presentations. The question time is limited to the scope of the presentation, and can’t be used as a forum to present testimony or views.

This is a large amount of time to spend on a single proposed rule – I can’t recall OSHA previously spending 14 days straight on another proposal. The atmosphere should provide a lot of information and clarification on the rule, and highlight some flaws that could lead to a better final rule down the line.

For those who aren’t able to attend, a transcript of the meetings will be available later on the public docket.

The opinions expressed in "On Safety" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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