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OSHA Delays Enforcement of New Rules

image Joann Natarajan, Compliance Assistance Specialist, OSHA, Austin, TX

DALLAS/FORT WORTH - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced a delay in enforcement of the crystalline silica standard that applies to the construction industry to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers. Silica is present in products that contain sand, a commonly used construction product. Inhalation of silica can cause a reduction in pulmonary function and lung cancer.

    The agency has determined that additional guidance is necessary due to the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standard. Originally scheduled to begin June 23, 2017, enforcement will now begin Sept. 23, 2017.

    OSHA expects employers in the construction industry to continue to take steps either to come into compliance with the new permissible exposure limit, or to implement specific dust controls for certain operations as provided in Table 1 of the standard. Construction employers should also continue to prepare to implement the standard’s other requirements, including exposure assessment, medical surveillance and employee training.

    The U.S. Department of Labor has announced a delay in the effective date of the rule titled “Occupational Exposure to Beryllium,” from March 21, 2017, to May 20, 2017.  Beryllium is used in nuclear reactors, satellites and specialty machine parts, such as non-sparking tools.

    The delay will allow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration an opportunity for further review and consideration of the rule, in keeping with a Jan. 20, 2017, White House memorandum, titled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review.”
OSHA published the final rule on Jan. 9, 2017, and previously announced the effective date would be postponed to March 21, 2017. On March 1, 2017, OSHA sought comments on a further extension to May 20, 2017.

    OSHA has now determined that the further delay is appropriate for the purpose of additional review into questions of law and policy.

    The extension of the effective date will not affect the compliance dates of the beryllium rule.

    The last delay concerns OSHA’s online recordkeeping reporting feature for employers to submit injury/illness data on an annual basis.  When implemented, OSHA will provide a secure website that offers three options for data submission.  OSHA is not accepting electronic submissions at this time. Updates will be posted to the OSHA website at www.osha.gov/recordkeeping when they are available.

    To keep abreast of OSHA changes, workers and employers can sign up for Quick Takes.  Quick Takes is an email update that is sent twice a month.  To sign up to receive Quick Takes, visit this link:

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Author Info

Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net