Opinion: OSHA Needs to Prove Final Silica Rule is Technologically, Economically Feasible

by Kacey Larsen

 WASHINGTON — The Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) has voiced concerns with the final rule on respirable crystalline silica released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It appears, upon initial review, that the 1,772-page final rule contains some of the same problematic provisions that the CISC previously identified and shared with the agency.

“National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has long advocated the importance of the rule being both technologically and economically feasible,” says Ed Brady, chairman of the NAHB and home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill. “While we’re still reviewing the final rule, we’re concerned that it may not adequately address these issues and take into consideration real-world application.”

“The construction industry submitted hundreds of pages of comments in response to OSHA’s proposal, and as we review the final rule we will see whether OSHA has taken those comments into account in developing a standard that is workable,” says Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck. “ABC will remain an engaged stakeholder with OSHA in developing viable standards that will promote healthy and safe construction jobsites.”

“Instead of crafting a new standard that the construction industry can comply with, administration officials have instead opted to set a new standard that is well beyond the capabilities of current air filtration and dust removal technologies,” says Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America. “Our concern is this new rule will do little to improve workplace health and safety, which is why we will continue our review of the new measure, consult with our members and decide on a future course of action that will best serve the health and safety of millions of construction workers across the country.”

The CISC is made up of 25 trade associations, representing virtually every construction trade, task and activity. Workplace safety and healthy is a priority for all members of the coalition, and each is committed to helping create safer construction jobsites for workers. CISC has been an engaged participant in the rulemaking process since OSHA put forth the proposed rule two and a half years ago. Learn more about the CISC here, and see the full statement put out here.

Learn more about OSHA’s final rule on respirable crystalline silica here.

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