OSHA Publishes Proposed Rule on Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica
ASSE’s initial response to the proposed rule, by President Kathy Seabrook, can be found at http://www.asse.org/en/index.php/govt_affairs/asse-president-kathy-seabrook-comments-on-announcement-of-silica-proposed-rule/. An ASSE task force of members will be developing a comment on the proposed rule.
OSHA has proposed to amend its existing standards for occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica. The Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA has made a preliminary determination that employees exposed to respirable crystalline silica face a significant risk to their health at the current permissible exposure limits and that promulgating these proposed standards will substantially reduce that risk. OSHA proposes a new permissible exposure limit, calculated as an 8-hour time-weighted average, of 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air (50 [mu]g/m\3\). OSHA also proposes other ancillary provisions for employee protection such as preferred methods for controlling exposure, respiratory protection, medical surveillance, hazard communication, and recordkeeping. OSHA is proposing two separate regulatory texts–one for general industry and maritime, and the other for construction–in order to tailor requirements to the circumstances found in these sectors. Written comments must be submitted by December 11, 2013. OSHA also plans to hold informal public hearings beginning March 4, 2014, in Washington, DC. The exact daily schedule may be amended at the discretion of the presiding administrative law judge (ALJ). Peer reviewers of OSHA’s Health Effects Literature Review and Preliminary Quantitative Risk Assessment will be present in Washington, DC to hear testimony on the second day of the hearing, March 5, 2014. Notice of intention to appear at the hearings must be submitted by November 12, 2013. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-09-12/html/2013-20997.htm