Volume 2, Issue 2 (February 2005)
Silica Sampling and Analysis: Legal Issues Evolving from Regulatory Standards and the Role of ASTM E 1132
Regulation of crystalline silica is a current priority on the rulemaking agendas of both the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). OSHA's draft standard has raised issues concerning which sampling and analytical procedures will be incorporated into the new regulation, and utilization of ASTM E 1132 is being considered as part of a comprehensive regulatory scheme for respirable crystalline silica. Citations supported by governmental determinations form the basis for “negligence per se” findings in tort litigation and constitute evidence of overexposure relative to worker's compensation and personal injury claims. This paper analyzes health issues associated with crystalline silica exposure, the rise of silica-related tort litigation, regulatory developments at the federal governmental level, the role of voluntary consensus standards, and recommendations for remedial action to minimize risk of harm to workers and the general public.