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Advocacy Article

OSHA extends comment period and other deadlines for its proposed rule on Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica.

On October 25, 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it was extending the comment period and other deadlines for its proposed Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica (Silica) rule, published in the Federal Register on September 13, 2013.  The proposed rule would amend OSHA’s existing silica standard by reducing the permissible exposure limit to 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air (50 mg/m3), calculated as an 8-hour time-weighted average.  The proposed rule also includes ancillary provisions for employee protection, such as preferred methods for controlling exposure, respiratory protection, medical surveillance, hazard communication, and recordkeeping.  OSHA is proposing two separate regulatory texts — one for general industry and maritime, and the other for construction. 

The new deadline to submit written comments and testimony is January 27, 2014.  OSHA will be conducting public hearings on the proposed rule, which are now scheduled to begin on March 18, 2014. The deadline to submit notices of intention to appear at these hearings is now December 12, 2013.    OSHA states that the hearings are expected to continue for several weeks.  The Office of Advocacy had requested by letter dated October 21, 2013 that OSHA extend the comment period and other deadlines for this important rulemaking.

For more information on Regulatory Alerts please see the Office of Advocacy website at http://www.sba.gov/advocacy.