Top appellate court to hear consolidated petitions for review of OSHA silica rule

Sources: Portland Cement Association, Skokie, Ill.; CP staff

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear all challenges to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s tightening of the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica. Among them are petitions for review construction and allied materials interests filed in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth and 11th Circuits. A deadline for such petitions is May 24.

The final silica exposure rule OSHA issued in late March sets a harmonized PEL of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour period, for work places or sites categorized general industry or construction; their existing PELs are 100 micrograms and 250 micrograms, respectively. Along with overwhelming opposition from affected industries and employers, the rule was the subject of a mid-April U.S. House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections hearing. Chairman Tim Walberg (R-MI-7) criticized the rule as costly and noted that enforcement of the existing standard would be the appropriate way to address silica exposure.

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