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NCMA, NRMCA mobilize response to extended OSHA silica rule comment period

Sources: Occupational Safety and Health Administration; National Concrete Masonry Association, Herndon, Va.; National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, Md.

OSHA is accepting comments on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica through February 11—two weeks beyond a prior deadline for stakeholders in concrete, construction and other industry sectors to weigh in on a universal permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica dust or powder.

The agency proposed in August 2013 a harmonized 50-microgram/cubic meter of air PEL for respirable crystalline silica, sharply cutting longstanding 100-microgram and 250-microgram thresholds in General Industry and Construction sectors, respectively. NCMA and NRMCA plan to submit comments to OSHA on behalf of their industry segments, underscoring concerns about the proposed rule’s stringency, net worker-health benefits, plus implementation costs and feasibility. They are likewise encouraging member producers to convey individual concerns on the rule and new exposure thresholds. Producer response templates, along with additional information on the rulemaking process, can be obtained from NCMA Research & Development Laboratory Manager Nick Lang, 703/719-1300, nlang@ncma.org; or, NRMCA Senior Director of Compliance & Regulatory Affairs Kevin Walgenbach, 240/485-1157, kwalgenbach@nrmca.org.

Comments can be posted at the agency’s Crystalline Silica Rulemaking site, www.osha.gov/silica. Written comments, under “Docket No. OSHA–2010–0034 Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica,” reference, can be directed to OSHA, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20210; 800/321-6742 or 877/889-5627. Public hearings on the proposed rule are scheduled to begin in March.