In response to industry pressure, OSHA has delayed the compliance date for its new respirable crystalline silica exposure standard by 90 days until Sept. 23. The final rule lowers the permissible exposure limit (PEL) from the current standard of 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour day. It was originally planned to take effect on June 23, with limited exceptions. 

A broad coalition of construction associations, including Associated Builders and Contractors, filed a petition for review of the standard in a federal appeals court. Many other industry groups have sought to overturn the new standard as well, presenting substantial evidence that the new PEL is both technologically and economically infeasible. 

OSHA also delayed the effective date of its final rule on exposure to beryllium, a lightweight but strong metal used in a number of industries, to May 20. However, most of the provisions in the final rule do not take effect until March 12, 2018. The final rule points directly to the construction task of abrasive blasting operations, which use slags that contain trace amounts of beryllium.