On April 6, the Department of Labor issued a press release delaying implementation of the silica rule, which was set to go in place June 23 of this year. The new implementation date will be September 23. The MCAA is hopeful that between now and then, the many unclear segments of the rule will be further elaborated on and that enforcement details will be defined and released.
In addition to further explaining the rule, the MCAA is hopeful for some adjustments made. In particular, there are tasks that belong in Table 1 which are not currently there. We are hopeful to see those added to make the rule more definitive.
What should you as a mason contractor be doing to prepare yourself for the implementation? The first thing you need to do is educate yourself on the rule. The rule itself is pretty long and complex… nearly 1800 pages in its entirety. A lot of it can be boiled down to practical knowledge and field practice. I would highly recommend that you take an MCAA Silica “Train-the-Trainer” class or have at least one or two people from your company take the course. The course will help define what you need to do as a contractor in order to comply with the new rule. More importantly, it helps you by having someone within your company who will be equipped (with the presentation and tests) to train competent people on your staff and also train every employee who is working on a job site. Both of these are required by the rule. If you are a member of the MCAA, you will also have access to a written exposure control plan from the MCAA. Both of these are critical components for complying with the new rule.
The MCAA just added a second group of classes set to roll around the country, to bring these classes as close to home for you. See the next page for all the new cities just added. The new rule can be a scary undertaking, but you don’t have to do it alone. The MCAA will be here to help answer your questions and address concerns contractors have. Look for more support items as we get closer to the rule. Some commonly asked questions and answers and some in depth articles on the rule from Jackson Lewis (compliance attorney’s representing the MCAA coalition on the rule). Also look for ways you can leverage resources as contractors in your state and local groups to help benchmark testing data. All this and more to come in the written issue of Masonry and the weekly eBlasts. If you are not a part of the weekly eBlasts, sign up online today, to make sure you don’t miss any news. As we enter the implementation phase this Fall, we encourage everyone to reach out to MCAA if you are approached by OSHA, General Contractors or anyone else with questions or concerns with the rule. Working together will help this process go a lot smoother and hopefully address questions before they become issues.