OSHA Silica Rule Moves One Step Closer to Becoming "Law"

According to an announcement by attorneys Bradford T. Hammock and Henry Chajet, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has finally sent its comprehensive rule governing worker exposure to silica dust to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for final review.

Clearing the OMB is one of the the last official hurdles the "silica rule" needs before becoming, well, a "rule." Up until this point it's only been a "proposed rule." In effect, an OSHA rule is law.
The Hammmock-Chajet announcement includes an interesting brief history of the OSHA silica rule, including mention that, while silicosis (the lung disease the rule is trying to curtail) can be fatal, "data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health shows a steady decline in fatalities from silicosis since 1968."
OSHA has been pushing the silica rule for years, and despite persistent opposition from construction industry representatives - a battle about which Charles Wardell writing in Remodeling provides keen insight for residential building processionals. One of the chief problems Wardell points to is that the rule might be applied quite broadly. Big industry is clearly a target, particularly where sand blasting, rock drilling or ceramic and glass manufacturing are involved. In the construction industry the silica rule certainly applies to folks working in almost any capacity with concrete and masonry. The rule could also be applied to folks installing and finishing drywall, and cutting fiber-cement siding, but how pointed that attention will be from OSHA is still anybody's guess. Eric Kimbel, a Pittsburgh construction attorney, is quoted by Wardell as saying after reading the proposed rule: “Say you’re sweeping up drywall dust. Are you going to need a HEPA vac? It’s not clear.”
Despite questions of how broadly the rule might be applied in the construction industry... Read the rest of the story in Journal of Light Construction

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