Silica Construction Rule In Effect with 30-Day Good Faith Grace Period

OSHA began enforcing the Respirable Crystalline Silica construction standard, 29 CFR § 1926, on September 23, 2017.1 Shortly before the enforcement date, Thomas Galassi, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, issued a memo announcing, “[d]uring the first 30 days of enforcement, OSHA will carefully evaluate good faith efforts taken by employers in their attempts to meet the new construction silica standard.”2 During this time, OSHA will set out to assist employers with complying with the new standard per the memo. Galassi cautions, however, that if an employer is “not making any efforts to comply, [that employer] may also be considered for citation.”

Oral Arguments Heard on Silica Rule Challenge

In 2016, industry groups challenged the new silica final rule.3 In North America’s Building Trade Unions v. OSHA, No. 16-1105 (D.C. Cir. filed Apr. 1, 2016), oral arguments were heard on September 26, 2017, specifically on the industry petitioners’ arguments regarding whether (1) the rule is justified by significant risk from silica, (2) whether the rule is technologically feasible, and (3) whether the rule is economically feasible. The D.C. Circuit’s scheduling order for the hearing gave the parties a total of 90 minutes for arguments. A decision is forthcoming.