On March 25, 2016, OSHA finalized the Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica rules. The standard that applies to the construction industry provided a compliance date of June 23, 2017. However, earlier this month OSHA determined, “additional guidance is necessary due to the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standard.” OSHA National News Release (Apr. 6, 2017). OSHA is now scheduled to begin enforcing the standard on September 23, 2017. This delay in enforcement will give the new administration time to review and evaluate the future of the rule.
Last spring, various industry and union groups filed petitions for review of the final rule. The industry groups argued that substantial evidence in the rulemaking record does not support the new rule and have asked for the rule to be vacated. The union groups have argued that the rule does not go far enough to protect workers and have asked the court to direct OSHA to reconsider issues related to medical surveillance and physicians’ recommendations. Although these challenges remain pending, they may ultimately impact whether construction companies must comply with the rule by September 23, 2017.