The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has rejected all industry challenges to Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) final rule on respirable crystalline silica exposure.
In 2016, OHSA issued two new respirable crystalline silica standards: one for construction and the other for maritime and general industry. The standards lower the permissible exposure level and require covered employers to provide respirators, safety training and periodic medical exams.
Industry petitioners which include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce believe OSHA made the rule too harsh and union petitioners believe OSHA failed to make the rule rigid enough.
The court rejected all of the industry challenges. The court only rejected the union’s challenge to the construction standard’s 30-day trigger for medical surveillance. Concerning the absence of medical removal protections, the court stated OSHA failed to adequately explain its decision to omit medical removal protections from the rule and remanded it to OSHA for further consideration of the issue.
Enforcement begins on June 23 for most provisions of the standard for maritime and general industry—though covered employers will have until June 23, 2020, to offer medical exams to certain workers.
Many of the construction standard’s provisions took effect in 2017.
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