The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has announced that it is extending its review period for OSHA’s proposed crystalline silica rule.  The proposal was received by OMB on February 14, 2011.  This extension follows the recent pattern of OMB taking longer than the standard 90 days to review OSHA rules under Executive Order 12866.  Notably, last year OMB extended its review of OSHA’s proposal to add a separate MSD column on the OSHA 300 Log.

OSHA’s proposal to comprehensively regulate crystalline silica in general industry, maritime, and construction could be one of the most significant rulemakings in OSHA’s history.  Silica, a component of the Earth’s crust, is present in a number of industries.  Both employer and employee stakeholders have been actively engaged with OSHA during the pre-rulemaking process.  Recently, several different groups of stakeholders have met with OMB officials to discuss the proposed rule.

It is unkown what has caused OMB to extend its review of the proposal.  Employers should continue to monitor this issue closely, however, and be engaged in the rulemaking process if, or when, OSHA publishes the proposal.