OSHA Delays Enforcement of New Silica Standards Until September 23, 2017

By: Sean T. Devenney, Drewry Simmons Vornehm, LLP

OSHA has issued a decision to delay the enforcement of new silica exposure rules that have a significant impact on employers and employees that work around silica dust (for instance masonry contractors and those that work around masonry contractors).  The new silica standards, which are explained here https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3681.pdf, were to be enforced starting on June 23, 2017 and will now not be enforced until September 23, 2017 at the earliest.  https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=33810

It will be interesting to see what actions the Trump Administration may take relating to this Rule.  However, it is important to note that while “enforcement” of the law will not occur before September 23, 2017, the fact remains, the Silica Standard is the law of the land unless the Trump Administration changes the law through the regulatory process, or Congress takes action to eliminate the Administrative Rule.  Construction industry participants are therefore encouraged to continue their efforts to bring themselves into compliance to reduce regulatory risk with the understanding that their efforts may ultimately require adjustment.