U.S. Department of Labor Extends Emphasis Program in Pennsylvania To Reduce or Eliminate Worker Exposure to Silica


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PHILADELPHIA, PA – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched an initiative to increase the focus of agency inspections in Pennsylvania’s maritime, construction, and general industries on identifying, reducing, or eliminating worker exposures to respirable crystalline silica.

The initiative extends OSHA’s National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Respirable Crystalline Silica. NEPs are temporary programs that focus agency resources on particular hazards and high-hazard industries while not creating any new obligation for employers.

The NEP on respirable crystalline silica will target specific industries in Pennsylvania that are expected to have the highest numbers of workers exposed to silica. It will also focus on enforcement of two new silica standards, one for the general and maritime industries, and one for the construction industry. OSHA is conducting compliance assistance until May 3, 2020, after which inspections under the NEP will begin.

“The goal of this NEP is to reduce or eliminate worker exposure to dangerous silica particles, and prevent the risk of workers developing serious silica-related diseases,” said OSHA Philadelphia Regional Administrator Michael Rivera.

OSHA’s new silica standards for the maritime, construction and general industries could impact approximately 61,899 workers in Pennsylvania.

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