OSHA’s New Silica Dust Regulations Will Save Lives but Cost Jobs and Billions of Dollars

silica dust collection regulation will cost jobs
OSHA has just announced that the silica dust enforcement date has been moved from June 23, 2017 to September 23, 2017 to give construction companies more time to come into compliance.

Although this regulation will save more than 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of incurable silicosis a year, it is sending shock waves through the construction industry.  It is forecasted that it will cost companies across America thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to comply.

“This rule will save lives,” said Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez. “It will enable workers to earn a living without sacrificing their health. It builds upon decades of research and a lengthy stakeholder engagement process – including the consideration of thousands of public comments – to finally give workers the kind of protection they deserve.”

Construction industry leads contend that while the government is focused on saving lives, which is admirable, they are missing the potential harm this could do to the construction industry and the economy as a whole.

Manufacturing industry leaders agree. “Not only does this rule rely on appallingly out-of-date economic data, it drastically underestimates the exorbitant costs that will be inflicted on manufacturers and the entire economy, and requires mandates that simply are not feasible to achieve,” said National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons. “As a result, small and medium-sized manufacturers could be forced to close their doors while others will be saddled with crushing regulations.”

We understand the health concerns behind the regulation; safety is extremely important. But, this new regulation is going to put a big onus on construction companies in terms of cost.

These costs are going to have to be recouped somehow. How will you be managing dust in your day to day operations? And, how are you going to manage the incurred costs from the updates? Join the conversation by commenting below.
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