OSHA Issues Guidance for Uniform Enforcement of its Crystalline Silica Standards

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a compliance directive designed to ensure uniformity in its inspection and enforcement procedures when addressing respirable crystalline silica exposures in general industry, maritime, and construction.

The new directive, released on June 25, 2020, provides OSHA compliance safety and health officers with guidance on how to enforce the silica standards’ requirements, including:

  • Methods of compliance
  • Exposure assessments
  • Housekeeping
  • Respiratory protection
  • Table 1 tasks and specified exposure control methods (primarily construction)
  • Regulated areas
  • Recordkeeping
  • Employee information and training
  • Medical surveillance 
  • Communication of hazards       

The directive also provides information on variability in sampling, multi-employer situations, and temporary workers.  Enforcement of most of the general industry silica standards began in June 2018, with enforcement of new medical surveillance requirements commencing on June 23, 2020.

AFS will hold a webinar in August to review the new OSHA compliance directive, as well as lessons learned after two years of implementation. Registration will open soon.