ABC Requests Extension for Comments on Proposed Silica Rule

ABC and the Construction Industry Safety Coalition sent letters Sept. 27 to Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels requesting a 90-day extension for submitting written comments related to OSHA’s proposed crystalline silica rulemaking, which drastically lowers the existing permissible exposure limit for respirable silica in the construction industry. The proposal was published in the Federal Register Sept. 12 and comments currently are due Dec. 11.

In their requests, ABC and the coalition pointed out that the underlying economic and technological feasibility analyses related to the proposed rule are so voluminous that simply reviewing the material alone will take the vast majority of the initial 90-day comment period. The letters argued that OSHA simply has not provided sufficient time for stakeholders to generate data that may be useful for the agency in analyzing the need for and the effects of the proposed rulemaking. 

In addition to requesting a 90-day extension for written comments, ABC and the coalition requested all other dates in OSHA’s proposal, including the public hearing, be pushed back to correspond with the new deadline. 

ABC also asked the agency to consider revising the format of the public hearing and schedule separate hearings for construction and general industry in order to elicit the most relevant feedback and facilitate the best discussions. Furthermore, ABC recommended OSHA consider additional venues for its hearing outside of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area to ensure all stakeholders have an opportunity to participate in the rulemaking process. 

ABC will update members through Newsline of any extensions granted by OSHA for the crystalline silica rulemaking.