OSHA Silica Regulations for Construction Upheld by U.S. Court of Appeals

Over the holidays, a federal appeals court upheld OSHA’s new silica rules. This decision means those regulations are here to stay.

The new regulations became effective on September 23, 2017, but several industry groups sued to stop them on multiple grounds. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit felt bound by the “deferential standard” it was required to give OSHA, however, and on December 22, 2017 issued an opinion and order upholding them. OSHA may now enforce the new rules freely.

The new rules aggressively lower silica exposure limits and require protective measures to meet those limits. And because silica is pervasive, these rules impact every corner of the construction industry. Silica consists of finely ground quartz and is found in many areas of the project site and in many common materials, including:

• Soil and Sand

• Asphalt

• Portland Concrete

• Grout

• Brick

• Drywall

• Rock and Stone

• Roof Tile

• Tile

Not only can OSHA, or its authorized state counterparts such as MIOSHA, enforce the new regulations, but the aggressive exposure limits and the pervasive presence of silica forces contractors into uncharted legal territory. The construction law attorneys at Kotz Sangster can guide you by providing assistance with such things as:

• Compliance

• Proper Documentation

• Third-Party Liability

• Indemnity

• Drafting Exposure Control Programs

• Jobsite and Contractual Responsibilities