New Rule on Occupational Exposure to Silica (US)

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposes to amend its existing standards for occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

The basis for issuance of this proposal is a preliminary determination by the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health that employees exposed to respirable crystalline silica face a significant risk to their health at the current permissible exposure limits and that promulgating these proposed standards will substantially reduce that risk.

The rule change proposes a new permissible exposure limit, calculated as an 8-hour time-weighted average, of 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air (50 μg/m3).

OSHA also proposes other ancillary provisions for employee protection such as preferred methods for controlling exposure, respiratory protection, medical surveillance, hazard communication, and recordkeeping.

OSHA is proposing two separate regulatory texts—one for general industry and maritime, and the other for construction—in order to tailor requirements to the circumstances found in these sectors.

OSHA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica was published in the Federal Register on September 12, 2013.

Further information is found here and here.

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