On March 25, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule regulating occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica (silica) in the construction industry (the standard). 81 Fed. Reg. 16286. Since then there have been several questions raised about the regulation, that have created confusion in the construction industry.
Over the last several months OSHA has developed a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the standard in consultation with the Construction Industry Safety Coalition and others to get answers and minimize confusion. This week OSHA posted the Respirable Silica FAQ for Construction on their website. For example, under the Housekeeping section of the regulation, dry sweeping is prohibited. The FAQ clarifies that the prohibition to dry sweeping only applies to housekeeping activities, not to the use of dry sweeping to perform a work task. However, the work would still have to comply with the rest of the regulation including exposure limits.