Important OSHA Regulation Changes

May 1, 2017

OSHA to Delay Enforcing Crystalline Silica Standard in the Construction Industry

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced a delay in enforcement of the crystalline silica standard that applies to the construction industry to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers. The agency has determined that additional guidance is necessary due to the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standard. Originally scheduled to begin June 23, 2017, enforcement will now begin September 23, 2017.

OSHA expects employers in the construction industry to continue to take steps either to come into compliance with the new permissible exposure limit, or to implement specific dust controls for certain operations as provided in Table 1 of the standard. Construction employers should also continue to prepare to implement the standard’s other requirements, including exposure assessment, medical surveillance, and employee training.

President Signs Resolution Blocking Recordkeeping Rule

On April 4, 2017, the President signed a resolution that will halt implementation of OSHA’s “Volks” final rule—also known as the Clarification of an Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness through the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Many contractor industry groups celebrated this change, citing the rule as overly burdensome.

The rule had extended the time period in which an employer could be cited by OSHA for recordkeeping violations from 6 months to up to 5 years. With the President’s signature and the enacting of this resolution, this rule is eliminated.

U.S. Labor Department Proposes Delay to Beryllium Rule Effective Date

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced a proposed delay in the effective date of the rule entitled Occupational Exposure to Beryllium, from March 21, 2017, to May 20, 2017. The announcement follows a White House memorandum entitled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review,” issued January 20, 2017, that directed the department to undertake a review of any new or pending regulations and temporarily postpone the date that they would take effect.

The proposed delay will allow OSHA an opportunity for further review and consideration of the rule, in keeping with the White House memorandum. OSHA published the final rule on January 9, 2017, and, in response to the memorandum, previously announced the effective date would be postponed to March 21, 2017. In its review process, OSHA has preliminarily determined that it is appropriate to further delay the effective date to May 20, 2017, for the purpose of additional review into questions of law and policy.

The proposed extension of the effective date will not affect the compliance dates of the beryllium rule.

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