It’s been almost a full year since OSHA’s more stringent regulations regarded respirable crystalline silica dust officially became enforceable. Even though the topic has been a staple in news outlets since before and after September 23, 2017 (the official enforcement date), there is still plenty of confusion across the industry.
To help contractors comply with the new regulations, OSHA has recently announced a few new resources to be used for training. Among them are a customizable PowerPoint Presentation (pdf download link), an FAQ page, and several short videos. Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) reported that the FAQ page, which contains 53 frequently asked questions and their answers, was directly linked to a lawsuit filed by several construction industry groups, including ABC.
The videos are a combination of one OSHA produced overview video and several others that were produced by ERG and are specific to a task or piece of equipment. You will find each of those videos embedded below. More information can be found on OSHA’s Silica for Construction home page.
Protecting Workers from Silica Hazards in the Workplace Video
Handheld Power Saws (any blade diameter)
Masonry Table Saw
Handheld and Stand-Mounted Drills
Handheld Grinders for Mortar Removal (e.g., tuckpointing)
Handheld grinders for uses other than mortar removal
After an abundance of delays on rule that would require crane operators to be formally qualified to operate, OSHA finally landed on an effective date of February 7, 2019. After receiving feedback from industry partners, OSHA has decided to delay enforcement for 60 days for contractors who make a “good faith effort” to comply.
As has been expected for a few months now, OSHA has officially removed the requirement for large companies with 250 or more employees to submit OSHA Forms 300 and 301. The administration cited privacy concerns as the reason for the change.
Be careful - owners and contractors are now being held criminally liable for their carelessness and disregard of safety protocols.
Since the 2016 Federal budget was passed, OSHA has increased their maximum citation penalty amount to adjust for inflation on a yearly basis. The 2019 increase has recently been announced.
Last November, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced felonious assault charges against a contractor’s superintendent and a manufacturer’s branch manager after two men suffered horrific injuries on a New York jobsite. Last week, OSHA formally announced citations against the St. Louis, Missouri based contractor.
After an uptick in construction industry fatalities in 2016, a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that both the amount of construction worker deaths and the rate of fatality dropped in 2017.
At the National Safety Council Congress & Expo on October 23, 2018, OSHA’s deputy director of Directorate of Enforcement Programs, Patrick Kapust, announced their 10 most frequesntly cited safety violations for their fiscal year 2018.
On March 15, 2018, 6 people were killed and 8 others were injured when an under construction pedestrian bridge collapsed in Florida. Several months later, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released their preliminary report while conducting an official investigation. The NTSB later issued an “Investigative Update” to their preliminary report in August. In Mid-November, the NTSB released a 2nd investigative update, narrowing their root cause theories.
The City of New York is getting serious about construction regulation and using the full extent of the law to punish those who have acted negligently on the jobsite. Last year, Mayor Bill De Blasio issued a new law requiring all construction workers to undergo, at minimum, 40 hours of safety training. In 2016, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. successfully convicted a construction foreman of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment after a laborer was killed in a trench collapse that he was overseeing. Earlier this month, DA Vance announced assault charges against a superintendent and branch manager after 2 men suffer horrific injuries on their jobsite.