OSHA’s new final silica rule that dramatically reduces allowable exposures to respirable crystalline silica takes effect this week for most employers. In particular, the rule kicks in on June 23, 2018 for employers in general industry, maritime companies, and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the oil and gas industry (for fracking, engineering controls still do not take effect until June 2021).

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Today, OSHA announced a further two-week delay in the deadline for employers to submit their 2016 injury and illness data electronically to the agency. The new deadline will be December 15, 2017. That will mark the first time that employers are required to routinely submit such data under a new rule issued during the Obama administration.
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In the last few months, mine operators around the country have seen individual MSHA inspectors and districts suddenly enforce new interpretations for a number of regulations. The latest rule evolving right before our eyes in one district could have widespread effect: grounding and continuity testing. Is MSHA’s new approach justified?
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