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More than 600 ABC members joined ABC in submitting comments to OSHA requesting it withdraw its proposed rule that would drastically lower the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of crystalline silica for the construction industry. The proposal also would require contractors to implement engineering controls and follow several “ancillary” provisions, such as exposure monitoring, medical surveillance and the establishment of regulated areas. 

To read a summary of OSHA’s proposed rule and the coalition’s concerns with it, click here.

In their comments, ABC and the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) pointed out the agency has not met its burden of demonstrating that the proposal is technologically and economically feasible. Many of the provisions in the rulemaking simply will not work in the “real world” of construction. ABC and CISC requested OSHA withdraw the burdensome proposal until it can demonstrate a rule of this kind is necessary and workable.  

One of the main provisions in the proposal will lower the PEL from 250 µg/m3 to 50 µg/m3–an 80 percent reduction in PEL for the construction industry. As ABC and CISC noted, OSHA has not shown that the proposed PEL can be met by the construction industry in most operations most of the time. 

“The proposal likely will impact 1.5 million more construction workers than OSHA estimated and will cost at least four times as much to implement,” said ABC Vice President of Government Affairs Geoff Burr.  “OSHA’s crystalline silica proposal is potentially the most egregious regulatory initiative that OSHA has proposed for the construction industry.”

To read ABC’s comments to OSHA, click here

To read the coalition’s comments, click here. 

OSHA will be holding public hearings on the proposed rule beginning March 18. CISC will be presenting on ABC’s behalf at the hearing.