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Safety News

November, 2017
NUCA Safety News


Competent Person Requirements for New OSHA Crystalline Silica Rule

Despite legal action and efforts to delay enforcement for the construction industry, enforcement of OSHA’s new Crystalline Silica Standard is now in effect. Contractors should now be making a goodfaith effort to comply or face significant fines.

OSHA’s rule for Respirable Crystalline Silica for Construction became effective September 23, 2017, and contractors must now make a good-faith effort to comply with the requirements. Many contractors have asked me about the requirement to designate a competent person (CP) to implement the written Silica Exposure Control Plan and to make frequent and regular inspections of jobsites where silica exposure could exist and the materials and equipment used to control silica hazards. You may want to print Table 1 from the standard, as I will refer to it several times in this article. OSHA has issued a guidance document that clearly states what employers and competent persons must do. The information I am presenting in this article is based on a careful review of the construction competent person discussion in the preamble of the new standard and my opinion of what OSHA will expect contractors to do. These may change as OSHA issues interpretations and answers to frequently asked questions. 

What the Regulation Says In paragraph (b) of the Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction, OSHA defines competent person as an individual who is capable of identifying existing and foreseeable respirable crystalline silica hazards in the workplace and who has authorization to stop work and take prompt corrective measures to eliminate or minimize them. In paragraph (g)(4) of the standard for construction, the employer is required to designate a competent person to make frequent and regular inspections of jobsites including the materials and equipment used to control silica hazards, and to implement the written exposure control plan. Before a CP can perform his or her assigned duties, a written exposure control plan must be prepared. The plans in most companies will be prepared by management and the safety department with the participation of the CP. Read More


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