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First Big Win for Silica Coalition

Friday, August 14, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Russell Hitchen
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Contact:  Patrick O’Brien, Executive Director
Concrete Sawing & Drilling Association
pat@csda.org


Construction Industry Safety Coalition Update

CSDA is one of 24 member organizations of the CISC. The association joined the coalition in 2013 to provide a unified voice from the construction industry on OSHA's Proposed Rule on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica. For more information on the Proposed Rule and CSDA's actions to date, Click Here.

Here is an update regarding recent coalition activities:

Chemical Management and PELs Rulemaking: The CISC retained Jackson Lewis to support the coalition with focused comments on OSHA’s Chemical Management and PELs rulemaking, which are due October 9, 2015.   Attached is a detailed outline for the CISC comments, which piggyback on the significant comments that we submitted for the silica rulemaking as many of the specific issues raised in that rulemaking are applicable to some of OSHA’s questions raised in the Chemical Management and PELs Rulemaking.  

Here is the tentative schedule for drafting and CISC member review of comments:

  • August 14 – CISC feedback on outline (attached) to Jackson Lewis
  • September 4 – First Full draft of comments sent to CISC for review
  • September 10 – CISC conference call
  • September 18 - CISC feedback on draft comments due to Jackson Lewis
  • September 25 – Final Redraft to CISC for review
  • October 9 – Submit Final CISC comments.

Silica Rulemaking: The CISC had its first big win with a recent important silica vote in congress.  In June, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill.  With the help of the CISC steering committee legislative staff, language was put in the bill which may ultimately stop OSHA from implementing the silica rule.  The legislation that passed out of the committee, among other things, establishes OSHA’s funding for fiscal year 2016 (including funds available to finalize and implement the controversial silica rule).  We worked with Senator John Hoeven’s (ND) office to prepare an amendment to the bill that would prevent the silica rule from moving forward until: a) OSHA convenes a new SBREFA panel; and, b) the National Academy of Sciences conducts a study to answer several key issues that OSHA has not addressed.   It is important to note that this is merely a (albeit important) first step in the process. The U.S. House still has to act, the full Senate must vote and the President has to sign the bill. There is certainly an uphill battle ahead. Still, this is a significant victory and CISC members will be kept informed as this legislation moves forward.

In addition, the CISC has requested a meeting with OSHA to discuss our March 2015 report “Costs to the Construction Industry and Jobs Impacts from OSHA’s Proposed Occupational Exposure Standards for Crystalline Silica”.  Unfortunately, OSHA has yet to take up the offer to sit down and discuss the new detailed information CISC has put forward.

CISC Website: A new website (www.buildingsafely.org) is up and running!  The website features information about the coalition, as well as the jobs/cost impact report, infographic, and silica comments, testimony, and data submitted to OSHA for the record. Thanks goes out to the Mason Contractors Association of America, who donated staff time to create the website at no charge to the coalition and to the Associated Builders and Contractors for their work on the graphics and website administration.  In addition to the website, a twitter feed (@buildingsafely) has been created.

OSHA Recordkeeping Clarification Rulemaking: On July 28 a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Recordkeeping was issued that claims to clarify an employer’s continuing obligation to make and maintain an accurate record of each recordable injury and illness throughout the five-year period during which the employer is required to keep the records. OSHA is issuing this proposed rule in light of the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in AKM LLC v. Secretary of Labor (Volks) to clarify its long-standing position that the duty to record an injury or illness continues for as long as the employer must keep records of the recordable injury or illness.  Essentially, the D.C. Circuit ruled in the Volks case that OSHA cannot cite employers for failure to record work-related injuries and illnesses more than six months after the initial obligation to record the cases occurred.  CISC does not intend on submitting comments for this rulemaking, however, if anyone is concerned about the impact of this proposal, they can consider signing on to the Coalition for Workplace Safety’s forthcoming comments. There are several CISC members who are also members of the CWS.  For more information about the CWS, visit www.workingforsafety.com.

If you have any questions about this update, please contact either Lauren Williams at Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. (lewilliams@abc.org / 202-595-1815) or Robert Matuga at the National Association of Home Builders (rmatuga@nahb.org / 202-266-8507).


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