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Cal/OSHA Delays Silica Standard Enforcement

Following Fed-OSHA's recent decision to delay for three months the effective date of the crystalline silica for the construction industry, Cal/OSHA has followed suit and announced that the new date in Califonia is now September 23rd.

Cal/OSHA says the move “synchronizes” with Fed-OSHA.

Note that unlike the Feds, Cal/OSHA's permissible exposure limit of 0.05 milligrams per cubic meter of air is already in effect for all industries. That PEL is found in General Industry Safety Orders §5155. The construction delay is over methods of controlling silica dust. Fed-OSHA says employers must use “wet” methods to prevent dust, such as masonry saws with water controls, and does not recognize dry methods such as vacuum controls, a bone of contention with some industrial users.

Cal/OSHA, in announcing the delay, emphasizes, “employers must continue to meet the requirements of Title 8 section 1530.1 to control employee exposures to dust created by operations conducted on concrete or masonry materials.”

This standard was crafted in 2008 in negotiations between Cal/OSHA and the construction industry, and is widely respected in the industry, which says the federal silica rules give them fewer choices to keep workers safe. The industry says it is close to developing data that shows dry methods are just as effective as wet methods.

Now it has an extra three months to do that.

 

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