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On March 25, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule regulating occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica (silica) in general industry (the standard) and requiring all general industry operations to follow the new standard by June 23, 2018.
 
The new standard provided requirements for medical testing for silica exposure which made it mandatory for all employers to offer testing at no cost to the employee working with silica. Below are some of the frequently asked questions OSHA has answered regarding silica medical testing.
  • Although the standard does not require employees to participate in medical testing, can employers make such participation mandatory?

Nothing in the silica standard precludes an employer from requiring participation in medical surveillance programs, as appropriate under other applicable laws or collective bargaining agreements.

 

  • Under the standard, can an employer require employees who participate in medical surveillance to see a health care professional of the employers choice?

Yes, the silica standard permits employers to select a health care professional to perform the medical examinations required by the standard. Employers must ensure that all the medical examinations required by the standard are performed by a PLHCP, i.e., “an individual whose legally permitted scope of practice (i.e., license, registration, or certification) allows him or her to independently  provide or be delegated the responsibility to provide some or all of the particular health care services required by paragraph (i).” 29 C.F.R. § 1910.1053(b), see also 29 C.F.R. § 1910.1053(i)(1)(ii). Employers should consult state or local laws for relevant  requirements.

 
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