WASHINGTON, DC — On June 8, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a memorandum outlining the initial enforcement of the standard for respirable crystalline silica in general industry and maritime. Most provisions of the standard become enforceable on June 23. The standard establishes a new eight-hour time-weighted average permissible exposure limit, action level, and associated ancillary requirements.
During the first 30 days of enforcement, OSHA will offer compliance assistance for employers who make good faith efforts to comply with the new standard. OSHA intends to issue interim enforcement guidance until a compliance directive on the new standards is finalized.
OSHA’s Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for General Industry and Maritime discusses methods of compliance, such as using engineering and work practice controls, assessing exposure levels, respirator use, medical surveillance, and written exposure plans.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.