Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today added a new proposed rule from the Department of Labor (DoL) to the Committee’s digital resource, Small Biz Reg Watch: the DoL Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed rule to protect workers from inhaling dust containing crystalline silica.
Crystalline silica is a natural component of soil, sand, granite and other materials. When workers chip, cut, drill or grind objects that contain crystalline silica, dust is generated that can be inhaled that puts workers at risk for silicosis, lung cancer and other diseases. OSHA is proposing two new crystalline silica standards, one for general industry and maritime and one for the construction industry.
“The effects of inhaling crystalline silica particles could present health risks for workers, therefore all stakeholders should consider this safety rule very carefully,” said Chairman Graves. “Because this rule could create new standards and requirements for small businesses in the construction, manufacturing, foundry, hydraulic fracturing, and many other industries, significant input from the small business community will help OSHA develop a regulation that both increases worker protection and safety and is cost-effective and feasible.”
The proposed rule creates a new uniform permissible exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica and requires employers to install engineering controls where appropriate and to provide employees with equipment, respirators, training, exposure monitoring, medical surveillance, and other protective measures. OSHA estimates that 470,000 small businesses or government entities will be affected by the rule. OSHA estimates that the average compliance costs for small businesses will vary greatly by industry and that the total cost of the rule will be $637 million annually.
Through the "Small Biz Reg Watch" initiative, the Committee regularly highlights new agency proposed rules that may have a significant effect on small businesses. The Committee also communicates with small businesses via email and social media when new comment periods begin for select proposed rules that have a significant impact on a wide array of small businesses. The website URL is: www.smallbusiness.house.gov/RegWatch