OSHA is Targeting Engineered Stone FabricatorsNov 06, 2023
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recently launched a new enforcement program to protect stone fabrication and installation workers. OSHA has identified two North America Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes for this focused initiative: 327991 – Cut Stone and Stone Product Manufacturing and 423320 – Brick, Stone, and Related Construction Material Merchant Wholesalers.
Exposure to crystalline silica dust in the workplace has been the focus of regulator’s attention for several years. In the memo to regional administrators and state plan designees, Kimberly A. Stille, Director of the Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP), said that this new initiative supplements OSHA’s targeted enforcement under CPL 03-00-023, National Emphasis Program – Respirable Crystalline Silica, which was initiated in 2020. OSHA’s Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for General Industry and Maritime took effect on June 23, 2018.
Cal/OSHA initiates ETS
The new federal initiative follows closely after California’s (Cal/OSHA) announcement last July that California planned to begin work on an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) after receiving a petition from the Western Occupational and Environment Medical Association (WOEMA). One central difference between what California and the federal government are doing is that federal OSHA has yet to make plans to initiate new rulemaking. Instead, federal OSHA will base its enforcement focus on current silica regulations.
Most employers and industry organizations work cooperatively with federal and state workplace safety regulators on this issue. The industry has long supported eliminating dry fabrication methods, adherence to existing regulations, and comprehensive worker training. OSHA officials anticipate that their outreach efforts may eventually include more industries that work with engineered stone.
As part of the federal program, OSHA is sending affected employers and stakeholders information about the initiative, including fact sheets about safer work practices for engineered stone manufacturing, finishing, and installation.
If you have any questions about this enforcement program or received an OSHA citation for any reason, don’t hesitate to contact Orr & Reno for assistance.
About the author: James F. Laboe