OSHA Submits Revised Rules On Silica Dust For Final Approval

Date: December 22, 2015

Updated Rule Threatens US Manufacturing

The Hill reported that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirmed Monday that it has sent revised safety rules to the White House for final approval. The Office of Management and Budget will have 90 days to review the silica regulations, which are “intended to protect construction and manufacturing workers from exposure to silica dust, which has been linked to serious health problems, including cancer,” the story says. It notes business groups’ argument that the rules aren’t necessary and could increase regulatory costs for industries. Politico reported the AFL-CIO Director of Safety and Health Peg Seminario stated: “We call on President Obama and others in the administration to make sure that the review is completed quickly … The final silica standard must be issued without delay so working people can at long last be protected from this deadly dust.” Safety And Health Magazine added that OSHA has been developing the revised rules since 2003, adding that the agency has received over 2,000 public comments. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez asserted that “Current standards that we have are more than 40 years old. They have been inadequate in protecting workers.”

What This Means For Small Business

Bruce D. Phillips, a senior fellow in regulatory studies at the NFIB Research Foundation wrote that the proposed rule “will affect approximately 900,000 small-business owners,” and “will cost between $3 billion and $4 billion nationally in lost personal income and will eliminate between 60,000 and 130,000 jobs.” While the cost will vary across different industries, Philips found that the average cost for a small business with ten employees would be about $35,000. Drawing on simulations from NFIB’s Regulatory Impact Model (RIM), Phillips wrote that the losses in income would likely correlate with employment losses, adding that “both are highly concentrated in the manufacturing states of the Great Lakes and Plains Regions.” Enacting this rule will strike a blow at the heart of American manufacturing.

Additional Reading

The final silica rule can be found here.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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