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News Jan. 8, 2018

Court rejects all industry challenges to silica standard

On Dec. 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit dismissed all industry legal challenges against the new silica standard implemented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 2017, according to

The court found OSHA was reasonable in its decision to lower permissible worker exposure to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air over an average of eight hours from 250 micrograms per cubic meter over the same period. The panel of federal judges also dismissed industry claims of bias, saying OSHA was entitled to make decisions using studies that result in better worker protections and only had to prove the typical company had a reasonable possibility of being able to implement the necessary controls to limit exposure.

OSHA's silica dust exposure standard took effect Sept. 23, 2017, after a 90-day delay, but the agency delayed enforcement until Oct. 23, 2017, to give employers more time to comply. This is the first update to the silica standard since the original one was established in 1971—the year OSHA was formed.

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