New Silica FAQs for the Construction Industry

Source: AGC of America Senior Director, Safety and Health Services Kevin Cannon, CSP (703) 837-5410

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has just released a set of 53 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to provide guidance to employers and employees regarding OSHA’s respirable crystalline silica standard for construction.  Through the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) was heavily involved in the formulation of these FAQs.  The development of the FAQs stemmed from litigation filed against OSHA by numerous construction industry trade associations – including AGC – challenging the legality of OSHA’s rule.  OSHA has also agreed to issue a Request for Information (RFI) on Table 1 to revise the Table to improve its utility.  AGC will continue to look for ways to work with OSHA to improve the workability of this significant rule.

The FAQs are extensive and organized by topic.  A short introductory paragraph is included for each group of questions and answers to provide background information about the underlying regulatory requirements.  A  four-page document with some of the clarifications and a PDF version of all the FAQs has also been created.  AGC encourages its members to review all of the FAQs to assist in their compliance efforts. If you have any questions, please contact Kevin Cannon at (703)837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org. You can also contact Nazia Shah at (703)837-5409 or nazia.shah@agc.org.

OSHA Announces 30-Day Enforcement Policy for the Silica Standard in Construction

Source: AGC of America

Administrators announcing how the Agency will handle enforcement of the new silica standard for the construction industry, which takes effect on September 23, 2017.

The memorandum states that during the first 30 days of enforcement OSHA will not issue citations to contractors who are putting forth good faith efforts in their attempt to comply with the requirements of the new standard. For those contractors attempting to comply, OSHA will offer compliance assistance and outreach with a focus on full and proper implementation of the controls listed in Table 1. However, if during an inspection it appears that a contractor is not making any effort to comply with the requirements of the silica standard, OSHA’s inspection will include air monitoring for exposures and the contractors may also be considered for citations. During this time period, any proposed citations are required to be reviewed by the National Office.

The memorandum also notes that OSHA has developed interim inspection and citation guidance to be released prior to the termination of the memorandum and that a compliance directive will be issued at a later date. AGC encourages contractors who have operations in State Plans and are covered by the silica standard, to contact their Administrators to find out if the September 20 memorandum will be acknowledged.

For more information, please contact Kevin Cannon at (703)837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org.

Urge Congress to Support H.J.Res. 83

Source: AGC of America

Help Us to Repeal OSHA Effort to Extend Statute of Limitations for Recordkeeping Violations

Urge Your Members of Congress to Support H.J.Res. 83

This week Congress will consider repealing a rule that exposes business owners to unfair liability for honest and inadvertent paperwork mistakes related to recordkeeping. The rule – which extends the statute of limitations on recordkeeping violations from six months to five and a half years – does not improve the safety or health of your company’s workers.

The rule was issued by OSHA to get around a court decision involving a construction company that challenged an OSHA citation for a recordkeeping violation issued beyond six months. Two federal courts have since rebuked OSHA’s theory for issuing recordkeeping citations after six months. This rule, issued by the Obama administration in December, directly contradicts both the courts and Congress.

Contact your members of Congress and urge them to support swift passage of H.J.Res. 83 to stop OSHA’s abuse of authority.

New OSHA 30-Hour Elective Course

Source: OSHA December 15 QuickTakes newsletter

OSHA offers new outreach training elective on safety leadership

OSHA’s Outreach Training Program and the Center for Construction Research and Training have developed a new OSHA 30-hour construction training elective course: Foundations for Safety Leadership. Responding to a training gap identified by contractors, unions and other industry stakeholders, FSL is designed to introduce construction workers, particularly foremen and lead workers, to five critical safety leadership skills needed to improve jobsite safety climate and safety outcomes. The course stresses the importance of leading by example, engaging and empowering team members, listening and communicating effectively, coaching and providing feedback, and recognizing team members who go above and beyond for safety. The FSL course will be available on OSHA’s Outreach Training Program webpage starting January 1, 2017.