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NSSGA opposes silica rule

Published by , Assistant Editor
World Cement,

On 4 April, in conjunction with the Georgia Construction Aggregates Association (GCAA), the NSSGA has filed a petition in the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals for review of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) crystalline silica rule. The final rule was published by OSHA on 25 March and, unless stayed by the court, is set to come into effect on 23 June.

Despite the fact that silica-related illnesses have dropped dramatically over the past four decades, the rule reduces the workplace exposure limit by half. The NSSGA submitted extensive written comments and provided oral testimony to OSHA following the agency’s publication of its proposed rule in 2014.

“The evidence has demonstrated that there is no additional health benefit to further reducing current exposure limits. OSHA’s rule is simply unnecessary as compliance with the existing standard fully protects workers,” said Michael W. Johnson, NSSGA president and CEO. “OSHA’s justification for this stricter regulation is not based on sound science.”

Johnson notes that objective evidence demonstrates that many commercial laboratories that analyse workplace air samples do not consistently provide the analytical accuracy at this lower limit. “There would be significantly more testing required that would result in confusing, inconsistent and unreliable data. This is a real problem that neither OSHA nor the labs have effectively resolved,” he said.

To aid the aggregates industry in its compliance with the current standard, NSSGA regularly partners with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to conduct noise and dust workshops that provide guidance on how to accurately monitor worker exposure to respirable silica. Also, NSSGA’s Occupational Health Program aids operators to effectively safeguard worker health through exposure monitoring and medical surveillance.

“NSSGA believes that the aggregates industry’s most valuable resource is the more than 100,000 people who work in our industry. Our members are committed to their health and welfare,” said Johnson. “It’s unfortunate that NSSGA is compelled to take legal action in this case. However, we are confident that an objective analysis of our challenge will demonstrate that OSHA is on the wrong track.”

Adapted from press release by

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