MCAA: OSHA Proposed Silica Rule Is Serious Concern for Construction Industry

Words: Dan KamysMCAA: OSHA Proposed Silica Rule Is Serious Concern for Construction Industry

A coalition of construction industry groups is concerned about a proposed rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that’s intended to protect workers from inhaling dust containing silica, created by activities such as cutting brick or block, and sawing, grinding or drilling concrete.

“The MCAA is very concerned about the safety and well being of our workforce. So much so, that we led an effort to develop a standard on workplace silica six years ago which implements some of what this standard calls for. There are, however, serious concerns with the reduction of the PEL. From 1968 to 2007, the incidence of silicosis has been reduced by 93 percent. We have serious doubts that a further reduction of the PEL will impact those numbers," says Jeff Buczkiewicz, president, MCAA.    

John Smith Jr., MCAA Chairman, adds, “Our jobsites are very different than a factory setting. Conditions on our sites can change instantly. If the wind changes speed or direction, it can impact monitoring of silica exposure."

Announced Aug. 23 in a press conference that outlined few details, the proposed rule seems to call for one-size-fits-all measures that contradict existing safety and quality assurance practices for different types of contractors. Independent studies have estimated costs for construction industry compliance will well exceed $1 billion per year.

MCAA is part of a Construction Industry Safety Coalition that is seeking a feasible and cost-effective crystalline silica regulation to improve safety and health protection measures for workers. The coalition represents thousands of employers working to protect hundreds of thousands of workers in home building, road repair, heavy industrial production, specialty trades and materials supply.

It was formed to encourage OSHA to develop better choices for compliance with the construction-specific silica rule: alternatives that also address costs, consistency with existing federal regulations and do not overly burden small businesses.

Construction Industry Safety Coalition members include:
??         AssociatedBuilder and Contractors (ABC)
??         AssociatedGeneral Contractors (AGC)
??         Associationof the Wall and Ceiling Industry (AWCI)
??         AmericanRoad and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)
??         AmericanSubcontractors Association (ASA)
??         International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (ICE)
??         MasonContractors Association of America (MCAA)
??         MechanicalContractors Association of America (MCA)
??         NationalElectrical Contractors Association (NECA)
??         National RoofingContractors Association (NRCA)      

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