US construction industry urges OSHA to withdraw silica rule

  Worker safety

US construction industry-related groups are asking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to withdraw its proposed rule to drastically lower the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of crystalline silica for the construction industry.

Construction
US construction industry-related groups are asking the OSHA to withdraw its proposed rule on crystalline silica exposure
Some US construction industry-related groups are asking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to withdraw its proposed rule to drastically lower the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of crystalline silica for the construction industry.
“OSHA’s current permissible exposure limits (PELs) for crystalline silica were adopted in 1971 and have not been updated since that time. They do not adequately protect workers; they are outdated, inconsistent and hard to understand,” according to a fact sheet on the OSHA website.
OSHA also says that strong evidence shows that current PELs do not adequately protect worker health. The current PELs are based on research from the 1960s and earlier and do not reflect more recent scientific evidence.
“The current PELs for construction and shipyard workers allow them to be exposed to risks that are over twice as high as for workers in general industry. The proposed rule would provide consistent levels of protection for workers in all sectors covered by the rule,” says OSHA.
According to the proposed rule, workers’ exposures would be limited to a new PEL of 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air (μg/m3), averaged over an 8-hour day. The new PEL would be the same in all industries covered by the rule.
The proposed rule is estimated to provide average net benefits of about USD 2.8 to USD 4.7 billion annually over the next 60 years. It is expected to result in annual costs of about USD 1,242 for t...




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