After a 30-day compliance extension, the Occupational Safety and Health Commission (OSHA) is now enforcing the provisions of the new silica rule. There are enforcement guidelines that have been provided until the compliance directives are finalized.
This rule has been met with both enthusiasm and criticism. Many companies say they need stricter guidelines in place, while others claim that the new rules are costly and burdensome.
Reuters has reported that recently, industry plaintiffs brought their cases to a federal appeals court and were met with skepticism by the judges who said it would be difficult to prove that the new guidelines weren’t warranted.
In response to this new rule, equipment manufacturers have added more products to capture silica dust. While other companies complain that the rule is too expensive and difficult to comply with.
All the backlash didn’t successfully stop the rule from being approved, but it did succeed in delaying the effective date of the new guidelines.
Even though the effective date of the rule is September 23, 2017, OSHA granted another 30-day grace period before they will start issuing citations and fines. This is provided, however, that the company is making a good faith effort to comply.
Each job site is unique and presents its own challenges. Many contractors will have to move toward compliance without a clear plan. It is recommended that contractors seek guidance from OSHA or the Association of General Contractors of America to avoid costly violations.