OSHA Silica Rule Gets 30-Day Grace Period
Bottom line, if you are a general or maritime employer subject to the new OSHA Silica Standard, OSHA is offering a 30-day grace period for employers who make “good faith efforts” to comply with the new rule. OSHA will extend compliance assistance to applicable employers.
The announcement of the grace period came from OSHA on June 8, 2018. The new silica standard is meant to increase worker safety by mandating construction and qualifying employers in the general and maritime industries implement control methods to limit worker exposure to silica.
Silica exposure occurs when workers are performing grinding, drilling, sanding, mixing, demolition, or other activities that cause silica dust particles to become airborne. Extended exposure to the fine glass-like dust particles can lead to lung damage.
From the DOL, all subjected employers are required to:
- Establish and implement a written exposure control plan that identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods used to protect workers, including procedures to restrict access to work areas where high exposures may occur.
- Designate a competent person to implement the written exposure control plan.
- Restrict housekeeping practices that expose workers to silica where feasible alternatives are available.
- Offer medical exams-including chest X-rays and lung function tests-every three years for workers who are required by the standard to wear a respirator for 30 or more days per year.
- Train workers on work operations that result in silica exposure and ways to limit exposure.
- Keep records of exposure measurements, objective data, and medical exams.
While the standard has been in effect since September 23, 2017 for construction employers, the general and maritime industries will benefit from the June grace period. The grace period mirrors that granted to the construction industry last September.