While experts plow through OSHA's 606-page final rule on silica to find the hidden details, you needn't wait to get a sense of how the new restrictions on silica dust in the workplace will affect your business. Going from easiest to the most detailed, here are three ways to start.

  • A 2-1/2 page fact sheet on how the silica rule affects construction.
  • A nine-page collection of Frequently Asked Questions that provides basic info about silica, ways to abide by the rule, and enforcement dates.
  • A key table in the final rule that basically declares you're in compliance with the rule provided you follow certain practices.

For instance, here's what the new rule requires when you're using one of several types of saws to cut materials that can produce crystalline silica:

Excerpt from Table1 of the Federal Register rule on silica
Source: Federal Register

The presence of these measures suggests that the silica rule is unlikely to lead to as many of the paperwork violations as have occurred with the Environmental Protection Agency's lead-paint rule--violations which have prompted contractor complaints that regulators were more likely to penalize companies for failure to fill out forms than for failure to engage in safe practices.