Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Dr. David Michaels announced during a conference call with non-business stakeholders on December 21st that a draft of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s final rule on occupational exposure of crystalline silica was sent to the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review. OIRA’s website confirms that the rule is pending review. The House GOP disappointed industry when it recently failed to block the silica rule from the fiscal year 2016 appropriations legislation. The next step is that OIRA has 90 days to conduct its review and OSHA has indicated that it expects the final silica rule will be published in February. However, the review period is often extended well beyond the 90 days. The proposed silica rule was under OIRA review for over two years.
Aside from uncertainty about the date of publication, there is also speculation as to the final provisions. Secretary Perez and Dr. Michaels refused to disclose any details on the content of the final rule or what changes, if any, between the original proposal and the draft final rule existed.