OSHA Hearings on Silica Proposal Continue, AIHA Testifies in Washington, DC

Published March 26, 2014

The next step in OSHA’s rulemaking process for its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on occupational exposure to crystalline silica began Tuesday, March 18, when the agency began holding public hearings. The hearings are scheduled to continue through Friday, April 4. The agency received more than 1,900 comments on its proposal via the docket page on Regulations.gov, and will hear from many stakeholders in person over the course of the hearings.

AIHA® Vice President Daniel Anna, PhD, CIH, CSP, testified on behalf of the association at the March 21 public hearing. In his testimony in Washington, D.C., Anna summarized comments on several aspects of the proposed regulation that AIHA submitted to the federal docket in February.

“Ultimately, the question is, ‘will this proposal result in improved employee health and safety?’ AIHA answers a resounding ‘yes,’ and supports OSHA’s efforts to move forward with the proposed rule that helps to protect worker health and reduce illnesses related to silica exposures,” Anna said.

After the hearings conclude, OSHA will publish a transcript of the hearings in the rulemaking docket. Those who participated in the hearings will be able to submit additional comments.

OSHA’s NPRM for respirable crystalline silica was published in the Sept. 12 issue of the Federal Register. The proposed rule includes a new proposed permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica: 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air calculated as an eight-hour TWA. In addition, the proposal details widely used methods for controlling workers’ exposure to crystalline silica, conducting medical surveillance, and training workers about silica-related hazards.

For more information on this rulemaking, visit OSHA's website.