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OSHA Delays Enforcement of Its New Silica Standard

OSHA decides home improvement and construction industry pros need more information before it can enforce its new standard 

April 10, 2017

Photo: courtesy ITW

Since last March, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) have been challenging the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new, soon-to-be implemented crystalline silica standard, which aims to reduce workers’ exposure to crystalline silica. It appears their lobbying may have worked, as OSHA announced this week it will be delaying the rule’s implementation by about three months, from June 23 to Sept. 23, 2017.

In its official release, OSHA doesn’t explicitly cite pushback from the construction industry as the motivation behind its decision, but rather claims it “determined that additional guidance is necessary due to the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standards.” As it happens, that’s exactly what NAHB and CISC have been saying.

“The Construction Industry Safety Coalition is pleased that OSHA has recognized the need to develop guidance material for the construction industry before enforcing the silica rule, and we remain committed to working with the agency to create a feasible standard that promotes safe and healthy jobsites,” CISC wrote in a statement.

However, while the CISC voiced appreciation for the 90-day delay in enforcement, the organization also believes it’s not enough.

The statement reads: “The CISC remains concerned about the overall feasibility of the standard in construction and has requested that the agency delay enforcement for a year.”

About the Author

About the Author

James McClister is managing editor for Professional Remodeler.

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