General industry and maritime employers making good-faith efforts to comply with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s silica regulation could avoid citations during the first 30 days after the agency begins enforcing the rule.
The Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica rule reduces the permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica over an eight-hour shift to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air for the construction industry, one-fifth of the previous maximum, as well as for general industry and the maritime industry at half of the previous maximum.
Most of the provisions of the general industry and maritime silica standard will become enforceable on June 23.
“During the first 30 days of enforcement, OSHA will assist employers that are making good-faith efforts to meet the new standard’s requirements,” Galen Blanton, acting deputy assistant secretary for OSHA, said in a memorandum released Friday. “If upon inspection it appears an employer is not making any efforts to comply, compliance officers should conduct air monitoring in accordance with agency procedures and consider citations for noncompliance with any applicable sections of the new standard. Any proposed citations related to inspections conducted in this 30-day time period will require National Office review prior to issuance.”
Hundreds of construction workers are killed every year from ladders and scaffolds, and many thousand more suffer serious injuries that are permanently disabling. And it is estimated that more than 30% of workers compensation claims costs stemming from construction sites are the result of falls from elevated surfaces.
A recent study indicated that injuries related to falls from elevated surfaces are more severe than other injury claims because these accidents result in more time away from work, damage to multiple body parts, and more short- and long-term disability leave.
Do Not Let These Accidents Happen to You
- A worker, who was standing on the top of a stepladder, fell when the ladder shifted. He suffered a spinal injury and was out of work for four months.
- Another worker failed to secure an extension ladder at the top and fell 20 feet when the ladder slipped away from the wall.
- Two men were working high up in a building atrium when their scaffold collapsed. They plunged four stories to a concrete deck. One man was dead on arrival at the hospital; the other was in critical condition.
- When a three-story wooden scaffold collapsed, two workers fell to the ground, suffering serious neck and back injuries. A third man working under the scaffolding was also injured.
It’s crucial for construction companies and their workers to implement regular safety training — and put that training to practice. Linked below are several helpful OSHA resources and fact sheets to improve worker safety at your organization:
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation announced that it has approved a rate decrease for workers’ compensation insurance in Florida. The 1.8% decrease was filed by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) in a law-only filing resulting from the effects of the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This applies to both new and renewal workers’ compensation insurance policies effective in Florida on or after June 1, 2018.
For more information about the filing, read the official release from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.