OSHA issued the final silica rule to limit exposure to crystalline silica, which was published in the Federal Register today.
After a brief initial review, it appears that the final rule contains some of the same problematic provisions that NAHB identified in comments submitted to OSHA during the rulemaking process.
What work is covered by the rule? Crystalline silica is found in many common building materials. Popular remodeling jobs like kitchens and baths that involve cutting tile, bricks and other materials containing crystalline silica over the new limit will likely be impacted by this new regulation.
Why is this important to remodelers? Remodelers will be required to use specified engineering controls like water or ventilation and provide respiratory protection for common tasks like trimming tile and cutting bricks under the updated exposure limits of the new silica rule.
What are a remodeler's responsibilities in the meantime? The rule goes in to effect on June 23, 2016 but OSHA will not enforce the rule in the construction industry until June 23, 2017. At that time, remodelers are required to establish work practices that limit worker exposure, have a written exposure control plan and find a competent person to implement it. Employers should prepare to provide workers who must wear a respirator for 30 or more days per year with medical exams and to keep records of workers’ silica exposure and medical exams.
Where can remodelers learn more about the required training and equipment?
NAHB continues to review the 1,772 page pre-publication copy of the rule. Members can access more information on the potential impact on nahb.org.
When and how did NAHB get involved? NAHB raised numerous concerns during the multi-year rulemaking process. Though the agency has made major changes to the construction rule, NAHB remains concerned that the final rule is not technologically and economically feasible for remodelers.
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