OSHA’s Crystalline Silica Rule Clears OMB

Filed in Labor, Safety and Health by on March 22, 2016 0 Comments

The Occupational Health & Safety Administration’s (OSHA) proposed silica rule cleared the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) on Monday, signaling imminent publication of the final rule.

As initially proposed, the rule would drastically lower the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of crystalline silica for the construction industry, require impractical medical surveillance of construction industry workers, call for extensive and costly recordkeeping processes, and place restrictions on certain construction site work practices, which contradict existing safety procedures.

From the very beginning of this process, NAHB has expressed concern, to the agency and Congress, about how the rule would affect real-world residential construction sites; as proposed, the rule is economically and technologically infeasible for the industry to comply with.

For example, OSHA has estimated that the rule will cost the construction industry approximately $511 million to implement, however, analyses show that this number is grossly underestimated. Economic analysts estimate the cost to be closer to $4.9 billion per year, and likely to increase given the present state of the economy.

“We’re disappointed and concerned with the speed at which OSHA has moved forward with the proposed rule,” said Ed Brady, NAHB chairman and a home builder and developer from Bloomington, Ill. “As proposed, it does not address a number of issues that would have significant impact on the home building industry.”

NAHB expects the final rule to be announced soon, and will provide additional details about any potential impact upon review. For questions or concerns about the proposed rule, contact Rob Matuga at 202-266-8507.

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