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Publication of OSHA’s Final Rule on Silica Expected

Last week, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that OSHA may publish its final rule on occupational exposure to crystalline silica as soon as February 2016. Safety + Health Magazine further reports that OSHA has sent a draft of its final rule to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”), one of the final steps prior to the publication of a final rule. The proposed rule was under OMB review for nearly two-and-a-half years. OSHA’s proposed rule would set a permissible exposure limit of 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air, reducing the current limit for general industry in half, and set a permissible exposure limit of 250 micrograms for construction sites and shipyards. In addition, the rule also would require engineering controls to reduce exposure, air monitoring, medical surveillance, and worker training. The content of the final rule is not known, but may reflect changes in response to more than 2000 public comments received on the proposed rule.