OSHA Eyes Construction for New Rules

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The American Subcontractors Association reports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is expected to take action, before the end of 2013, on at least 10 rules that will affect construction subcontractors. This includes a proposed rule on crystalline silica, employers’ obligations to make and maintain safety-related records, tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses, cranes and derricks, and final rules on confined spaces, injury reporting requirements, protection against slips and trips, combustible dust, and whistleblower protections.

“OSHA’s soon-to-be-proposed rule on crystalline silica could be the most significant construction rule that the agency has published in years,” said ASA Chief Advocacy Officer E. Colette Nelson. Crystalline silica is a significant component of the earth’s crust and many workers in construction are exposed to it. The proposed rule would lower exposure limits and establish new requirements on engineering controls and regulated areas.

“For example, OSHA is expected to ban dry sweeping of any materials containing silica on a construction site. This includes concrete, dry wall, brick and block pieces, and more,” Nelson said. ASA is working with other construction associations to develop data on the technological and economic feasibility of construction firms complying with the proposed rule.  Read More.