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OSHA issues proposed rule on silica

September 3 2013

OSHA announced on August 23, 2013 that it has proposed a new rule aimed at reducing crystalline silica exposure in the workplace.

Once the rule has been formally published in the Federal Register, the public will have 90 days to submit written comments.

“The proposed rulemaking includes two separate standards-one for general industry and maritime employment, and one for construction,” OSHA said in a statement. The rule would set a new Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) of 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air (µg/m3) averaged over an eight hour day with an Action Level of 25 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air. The standard would also require employers to determine the activities in which they would exceed the action level and thus need to protect employees to exposures above the PEL. The standard will also seek to limit employee access and require the use dust controls and respirators in areas where exposures could be above the PEL.

More information, including the news release and information on how access and post comments on the Federal Register site can be found on OSHA’s silica page at https://www.osha.gov/silica.

Additional silica-related information, including training material and resources to help contractors develop a silica plan, can be found on the Work Safely With Silica website sponsored by the CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training.

If you have any comments or concerns regarding this proposed standard, please share them with TAUC Director of Safety and Health Wayne Creasap at wcreasap@tauc.org.

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