CISC Efforts Regarding OSHA Silica Rule Continue

April 2015

The Construction Industry Safety Coalition, which includes AWCI, offered comments to OSHA regarding the pending Silica Rule in an effort to prevent the rule from imposing overly burdensome provisions on the construction industry. CISC staff recently circulated the following update.

Silica Rulemaking. OSHA is currently in the process of analyzing the substantial comments it received (nearly 10,000 pages) on its proposed silica rule, which the agency has scheduled to take place through at least the middle of this year. In a recent meeting, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, Jordan Barab, reiterated that issuing a final silica rule by the end of the current administration was a top priority. Organized labor has also stated that having OSHA finalize the silica rule is now their number one issue as well. The CISC intends on using the data and information generated by the coalition to continue to advocate our positions to key policy makers (i.e., Congress, OMB/OIRA, SBA, OSHA and others, as necessary) over the coming months.

Silica Rule Impacts by State. While the rulemaking is ongoing, the CISC consultants at Environomics, Inc. are completing a further analysis of the cost and job impacts of the silica proposal on to the construction industry. The results of this additional analysis will include the following: 1) direct costs for the industry to comply with the proposed new construction PEL and ancillary requirements; 2) costs that will be passed-through to the construction industry by suppliers of construction materials (e.g., brick, block, stone, tile, concrete) after they comply with the proposed new silica standards for General Industry; and 3) cost and job impacts of the silica proposal broken down by State. It is anticipated that the new indirect costs calculated will add about 20 percent to the overall cost of the rule on the construction industry. The CISC hopes to make this new information available to the CISC members by mid-March.

Infographic. A two-page infographic, “How OSHA’s Silica Proposal Impacts Construction,” is under development and will present the highlights of the CISC written comments on OSHA’s proposal in a quick and clear manner. This infographic is intended to be shared with our association members, members of Congress, and media. The group also plans to print approximately 1,000 copies of this document for hard-copy distribution, which will also be available on the future CISC website (see below). It is anticipated that the infographic will be available by mid-March.

Silicosis Mortality Research. On Feb. 13, the Centers for Disease Control issued the latest Silicosis Mortality Trend in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which is available at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/wk/mm6405.pdf. This report states that a “statistically significant decline in silicosis death rates was observed during 2001-2010” and that the “annual number of silicosis deaths declined from 164 (0.74 per 1 million) in 2001 to 101 (0.39) in 2010 (p for trend = 0.002).” This report supports prior CDC research that indicates deaths stemming from silicosis have declined significantly in recent years, which CISC noted in its comments to OSHA.

CISC Website. A website domain name (buildingsafely.org) has been obtained and CISC staffers are currently in the process of developing a CISC website. This website is intended to be used for all OSHA/safety issues CISC gets involved in later, but will initially contain detailed information about the coalition, as well as our silica comments, testimony, and data submitted to OSHA for the record. CISC also intends to use the website to highlight the main issues CISC raised regarding the technological/economic feasibility of OSHA’s proposed silica rule and also anticipate that the website will be kept current by posting links to appropriate news stories and articles, generating posts that focus on our particular arguments, and including a grassroots sign up/”take action,” for when the need arises.