On February 14, 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) expressed its commitment to pursue the making of a rule governing silica exposure by forwarding the proposed rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. Although this process normally takes 90 days, OMB requested an extension in May 2011 in order to further analyze the cost implications of the proposed rule.
BAC, along with the Building and Construction Trades Department, the AFL-CIO and numerous occupational health advocates, has actively pressed OMB to complete its review of the rule so that OSHA and DOL can continue the hearing and drafting process.
As more time elapses, frustration over the prolonged delay has intensified, as illustrated by BAC President James Boland’s remarks before the AFL-CIO Executive Council in March, at which he urged OMB to release the rule “so we can get on with the public rulemaking and get a stronger standard to protect workers from the disabling disease of silicosis and death.”
Scientific evidence has continued to mount that the permissible exposure limits established in the original silica rule adopted in 1968 are inadequate to prevent illness or death related to silica dust exposure. Currently, the Center for Disease Control estimates that more than 1.7 million U.S. workers are exposed to crystalline silica in a variety of industries and occupations.
CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training recently introduced the next generation of its signature of Hazard Alert cards with the first one on the dangers of silica, available on printed pocket-sized cards to unions and apprenticeship programs. For the complete menu of CPWR Hazard Alert topics, go to www.cpwr.com/rp-hazardalerts.html