The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a memorandum on June 8 outlining the initial enforcement of the standard for respirable crystalline silica.
Most provisions of the standard become enforceable on June 23, 2018. The standard establishes a new eight-hour time-weighted average permissible exposure limit, action level, and associated ancillary requirements.
In the final rule, OSHA concluded that vehicle-mounted drilling rigs are not required to employ additional silica control methods—wet control methods are sufficient—thereby saving groundwater contractors the expense of installing additional control methods.
OSHA also announced during the first 30 days of enforcement it will offer compliance assistance for employers making good faith efforts to comply with the new standard. OSHA intends to issue interim enforcement guidance until a compliance directive on the new standard is finalized.
OSHA is referring people to its OSHA Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for General Industry and Maritime, which discusses methods for compliance, such as using engineering and work practice controls, assessing exposure levels, respirator use, medical surveillance, and written exposure plans.
Water Well Journal’s December 2016 issue had a Safety Matters column by Jerome E. Spear, CSP, CIH, on how the rule can keep workers safe. The complete column can be read on WWJ’s website.