As many of you are aware, on March 25, 2016, OSHA issued new standards governing the potential exposure limit (“PEL”) for Respirable Crystalline Silica (“RCS”). On August 15, 2019, OSHA issued a Request for Information (“RFI”) seeking information concerning this regulation and its implementation under Table 1 of the 2016 RCS standard for construction. Table 1 provides for engineering and work practice control methods to be followed when operating certain types of equipment or carrying out certain tasks which can result in RCS exposure. OSHA is primarily seeking comment from Employers who are in compliance with the RCS standards. OSHA is seeking information on the following:
- Exposure data alongside comment and information which could assist the agency in assessing whether revisions to the standards may be appropriate.
- Information on tasks and equipment involving RCS exposure that are not currently listed on Table 1.
- Information on the effectiveness of engineering and work practice control methods not currently included for the tasks and equipment listed on Table 1 of the RCS standard for construction.
- Information and comment on whether OSHA should expand the circumstances in which general industry and maritime industry employers should be given flexibility to follow Table 1 of the construction standard when Table 1 tasks are “regularly performed in general industry or maritime in a relatively stable and predictable environment.”
- Information on tasks and equipment involving exposure to RCS not listed on table 1, alongside information on the effectiveness of engineering and work practice control methods in limiting worker exposure when performing said tasks.
- The economic impacts that should be considered in determining whether to update Table 1 or broaden the circumstances under which the general industry and maritime employers could comply with the silica standard for construction.
OSHA plans to make the comments and information gathered public, so a party submitting information under the RFI is advised to review the data so that no sensitive or controversial matters are disclosed. If you desire to submit comments to OSHA regarding this RFI it must be submitted on or before October 15th. For those concerned about the impact of the RCS standard, this request is a prime opportunity to voice your concerns to the agency.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.