Issued October 19, 2017
MEMORANDUM FOR: REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS
THROUGH: THOMAS GALASSI - Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary
FROM: PATRICK J. KAPUST, Acting Director - Directorate of Enforcement Programs
Interim Enforcement Guidance for the Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction Standard, 29 CFR 1926.1153
This memorandum provides interim enforcement guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for enforcing 29 CFR 1926.1153, Respirable Crystalline Silica. The Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction standard establishes a new 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 µg/m3, and an action level (AL) of 25 µg/m3.
As you know, OSHA has been enforcing the Respirable Crystalline Silica in Construction standard since September 23, 2017. However, for the first 30 days, OSHA offered compliance assistance in lieu of enforcement for those employers who were making good faith efforts to comply with the new construction standard. Effective October 23, 2017, OSHA will fully enforce all appropriate provisions of the Silica in Construction standard. This memorandum will serve as interim enforcement guidance while the standard's companion compliance directive is proceeding through the review process. It will expire when the compliance directive becomes effective and available to the field.
This memorandum highlights some of the requirements of 29 CFR 1926.1153, but does not provide guidance on all of the standard's provisions. The attachments provide inspection and citation guidance; as well as flow charts to assist with evaluating employers' control methods. Please consult the Office of Health Enforcement when you need further information or guidance on 29 CFR 1926.1153, Respirable Crystalline Silica.
Further, due to the new requirements in 29 CFR 1926.1153, Respirable Crystalline Silica, OSHA has revoked CPL 03-00-007, National Emphasis Program - Crystalline Silica. However, the inspection procedures for both General Industry and Maritime will remain unchanged until the compliance date for these industries begins on June 23, 2018.
The final rule on Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica, published on March 25, 2016, established a new PEL of 50 µg/m3 for all covered industries. It also required other employee protections, such as performing exposure assessments, using exposure control methods, using respiratory protection, offering medical surveillance, developing hazard communication information, and keeping silica-related records. The rule included two standards: one for Construction - 29 CFR 1926.1153; and one for General Industry and Maritime - 29 CFR 1910.1053, both of which became effective on June 23, 2016.
Under the construction standard, all obligations were to commence on June 23, 2017, except for requirements for sample analysis in 29 CFR 1926.1153(d)(2)(v), which commence on June 23, 2018. The construction standard has a number of unique features, which warranted development of additional guidance materials. As you are aware, OSHA delayed enforcing this standard until September 23, 2017, to provide training to compliance officers and conduct outreach to the regulated community. Additionally, for the first 30 days, OSHA offered compliance assistance in lieu of enforcement for those employers who were making good faith efforts to comply. Outreach to employers and trainings for CSHOs and other field staff has already been conducted, and additional educational materials are currently being developed.
As a reminder, the September 23, 2017, enforcement date applied only to construction, the requirements for General Industry/Maritime are set to commence on June 23, 2018.
If you have any questions, please contact Audrey Profitt or Sven Rundman in the Office of Health Enforcement at 202-693-2190.
Attachment A: Enforcement Guidance
Other Silica Construction Standard Provisions
Respiratory Protection [paragraph (e)]
Tasks Listed in Table 1
CSHOs must use appropriate PPE for potential hazard exposures. They must not enter a respirable crystalline silica-regulated area, or other area where exposures are likely to exceed the PEL, unless it is absolutely necessary and then only if using appropriate PPE. For inspection and air sampling activities, CSHOs should use remote operations when practical. CSHOs should be conservative about time spent in areas where high concentrations of silica exist or are suspected.
Attachment B: Flow Charts for Evaluating Construction Employer Methods of Controlling Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica
Flowchart A: Specified Exposure Controls for Table 1 Tasks
If employees are performing Table 1 tasks, and the employer has not implemented controls, and has not conducted an exposure assessment, then the employer is in violation of paragraphs (c) and (d). For each employee with occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS), CSHOs should consider the following questions.
Note 2: To determine whether the engineering controls, work practices, and respiratory protection specified in Table 1 are fully and properlyimplemented, CSHOs should consult 29 CFR 1926.1153(c)(2), which contains additional requirements for tasks performed indoors or in an enclosed area, and for control measures involving wet methods or an enclosed cab or booth.
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