On April 19, 2017, the Department of Industrial Relations for the State of California issued an important update to Cal/OSHA’s new Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction. The standard is substantially similar to Federal OSHA’s new rules for silica. The new standard is found under Title 8 section 1532.3 of the California Code of Regulations and like the federal rule was set to go into effect on June 23, 2017.
However, federal OSHA decided to delay enforcement of the silica rule so that it has more time to provide guidance to employers due to the unique nature of the requirements. Cal/OSHA has decided to follow this lead and will not enforce the new requirements until September 23, 2017. Cal/OSHA has also acknowledged recent legal challenges to the federal silica rule and has stated that it will reevaluate the rule in light of any changes due to the litigation.
Employers in California must keep in mind that they are still subject to Cal/OSHA’s new permissible exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica of 0.05 milligrams per cubic meter (0.05 mg/M3), found in Title 8 section 5155, Table AC-1, which went into effect on October 17, 2016. In addition, employers must continue to comply with the requirements set forth under Title 8 section 1530.1 to control employee exposures to dust created by operations conducted on concrete or masonry materials.