A new report released by the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) found that OSHA's proposed silica standards for construction will cost the industry $5 billion per year—roughly $4 .5 billion per year more than OSHA’s estimates. The coalition cautioned that the flawed cost estimates reflect deeper flaws in the rule and urged the federal agency to reconsider its approach.

OSHA originally calculated that their proposed rule to drastically reduce the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of crystalline silica for the construction industry would cost the construction industry about $511 million a year. CISC’s estimates found that the costs to the industry will actually be approximately 10 times the OSHA estimate—costing nearly $5 billion a year. 

The CISC news release cites that the OSHA analysis included major errors and omissions that account for the large discrepancies with the CISC report including direct compliance expenditures by the industry such as additional equipment, labor and record-keeping costs which will account for about 80 percent of the cost ($3.9 billion/year). In addition, he remaining 20 percent of the cost ($1.05 billion/year) will come in the form of increased prices that the industry will have to pay for construction materials and building products such as concrete block, glass, roofing shingles and more. 

Not only will the proposed rule be more costly than originally estimated, but it would translate into significant job losses for the construction industry and the broader economy. The CISC estimates that the proposed regulation would reduce the number of jobs in the U.S. economy by more than 52,700 yearly. 

The full CISC report, which was also submitted to OSHA, can be found at nahb.org