Brief Description: This rulemaking creates chapter 296-840 WAC, Respirable Crystalline Silica, and amends WAC 296-841-20025, Permissible exposure limits (PELs), and WAC 296-307-62625, Permissible exposure limits of air contaminants. These amendments update references to the respirable crystalline silica rule.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA’s) final rule for Respirable Crystalline Silica in 29 CFR 1926.1153 (Construction) and 29 CFR 1910.1053 (General Industry/Maritime) became effective on June 23, 2016. The department is required to update their rules to be at least as effective as OSHA.
The department’s Respirable Crystalline Silica rule covers construction and general industry in one rule (chapter 296-840 WAC), whereas OSHA has separate rules for each. The new Silica chapter addresses and limits worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica in workplaces, with the intent of curbing lung cancer incidents, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in Washington workers.
The effective date of the rule is April 23, 2018, and the compliance dates are as follows:
• For occupational exposures to respirable crystalline silica in construction work, employers must comply with all obligations of the rule by October 1, 2018.
• For all occupational exposures to respirable crystalline silica other than construction work, employers must comply with all obligations of the rule by July 1, 2019, except:
• Employers must comply with the medical surveillance requirements for employees exposed above the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for thirty or more days per year beginning on July 1, 2019;
• Employers must comply with the medical surveillance requirements for employees exposed above the Action Level (Al) for thirty or more days per year beginning on June 23, 2020; and
• For hydraulic and fracturing operations in the oil and gas industry, employers must comply with the engineering control requirements beginning on July 1, 2022.
Effective date: April 23, 2018