Construction Industry Safety Coalition urges U.S. Department of Labor to withdraw “significantly flawed” silica proposal
Citing faulty assumptions and incomplete data, construction safety officials offer to help write more effective measure
The Construction Industry Safety Coalition, which represents twenty-five different construction trade associations, issued the following statement as it filed comments regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) proposed Crystalline Silica Rulemaking:
“After an exhaustive analysis that involved hundreds of construction safety professionals, builders, construction managers and specialty trade contractors representing virtually every facet on the industry, it is our conclusion that the administration’s proposed new silica rule is significantly flawed and will do little to improve workplace health or safety. Specifically, the proposed rule sets a silica exposure standard that cannot be accurately measured or protected against with existing equipment and includes a series of data errors that undermine many of the rule’s basic assumptions.
“The proposed rule’s new silica exposure limit is virtually impossible to accurately measure or protect against using existing technology. For example, commercially-available dust collection technology is not capable by itself of protecting workers from the rule’s new silica exposure limit. A limitation the agency appears to acknowledge in its additional requirement that workers also wear respirators, something that would not be necessary if the dust collection technology was effective.
“Even more troubling, the proposal is rife with errors and inaccurate data that call into question the entire rulemaking process. Agency officials, for example, omitted 1.5 million construction workers from its assessment of the size of the affected workforce. The agency also did not consider the broad range of tasks and variety of settings and environments in which construction occurs. And the agency’s assessment of the rule’s cost was off by a factor of four.
“Given the lack of scientific explanation justifying the new exposure limits, the many contradictions between the rule and the realities faced in the construction industry, and the fact that agency officials made significant errors in the basic data the rule is based on, we are urging the administration to withdraw this proposed rule. We strongly urge agency officials to work with us and employee groups to craft a silica measure that will build upon the work all of us have done to reduce silica-related deaths by 93 percent during the past three decades.”
About the Construction Industry Safety CoalitionThe CISC is made up of 25 trade associations, representing associations from all sectors of the construction industry, including commercial building, heavy industrial production, home building, road repair, specialty trade contractors and material suppliers. Workplace safety and health is a priority for all members of the coalition, and each is committed to helping create safer construction jobsites for workers.
- American Road and Transportation Builders Association
- American Society of Concrete Contractors
- American Subcontractors Association
- Associated Builders and Contractors
- Associated General Contractors
- Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry
- Building Stone Institute
- Concrete Sawing & Drilling Association
- Construction & Demolition Recycling Association
- Distribution Contractors Association
- Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute
- International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers
- Leading Builders of America
- Marble Institute of America
- Mason Contractors Association of America
- Mechanical Contractors Association of America
- National Association of Home Builders
- National Association of the Remodeling Industry
- National Demolition Association
- National Electrical Contractors Association
- National Roofing Contractors Association
- National Utility Contractors Association
- Natural Stone Council
- The Association of Union Constructors
- Tile Roofing Institute
About the Author
Jeff Buczkiewicz is the President and CEO of the Mason Contractors Association of America. Jeff has worked in the masonry industry for several years as the Executive Vice President of the Building Stone Institute and the Director of Marketing and Membership for the Mason Contractors Association of America. Jeff has also served as Secretary on the Board of the Natural Stone Council and is a former Board Member of the StonExpo Federation.