Senate Appropriations Committee passes amendment delaying silica rule
Huge victory in the Senate, but work far from over
By Stephen Borg
Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee considered the FY16 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill and passed the bill out of Committee and to the full Senate for consideration. We are pleased to report that during consideration of the bill, Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) offered an amendment to delay the proposed silica exposure rule being pursued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
We are pleased to report that this amendment was passed by Committee and is now a part of the legislation that moves to the Senate for consideration. Specifically the Sen. Hoeven amendment would not allow OSHA to finalize the regulation until such time that:
- a new Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, or SBREFA Panel review is conducted and a report delivered to OSHA; and
- an independent study is delivered to the Appropriations Committee and the HELP Committee examining:
- OSHA’s epidemiological justification for its proposed reduction of the current OSHA exposure limits, including the prevalence or lack of disease and mortality associated with the current OSHA exposure limits,
- the ability of laboratories to measure, with accuracy and precision that meet the “NIOSH Accuracy Criterion,” exposures generally below the current OSHA exposure limits and specifically at the proposed OSHA exposure limit and proposed action level,
- the ability of various types of personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect employees,
- the steady decline in silicosis related mortality rates based on data maintained by the Centers for Disease Control; and
- the costs of the different types of PPE compared with the costs of engineering and work practice controls.
About the Author
Stephen Borg is Vice President of The Keelen Group.