A new report issued by the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) found that OSHA’s proposed standards for respirable crystalline silica will cost the industry $5 billion per year—nearly $4.5 billion above the estimates agency officials indicated in September 2013, when they outlined a new permissible exposure limit for construction and general industry workplaces.

The CISC, which is comprised of 25 trade associations representing home building, commercial, road, heavy industrial and specialty trade contractors and materials suppliers, is calling for OSHA to withdraw the proposed rule until it can demonstrate a rule of this kind is necessary and workable for the construction industry.

CISC estimates the proposed regulation would reduce the number of jobs in the U.S. economy by more than 52,700 annually. That figure includes jobs in construction and related industries, such as building materials suppliers, equipment manufacturers and architects, as well as losses in non-construction sectors. Factoring in part-time or seasonal jobs, that number could increase to nearly 80,000 positions lost. 

CISC members include Associated Builders and Contractors, Associated General Contractors, American Society for Concrete Contractors, Interlocking Concrete Pavement InstituteNational Association of Homebuilders and Mason Contractors Association of America. The full CISC report, “Costs to the Construction Industry and Job Impacts from OSHA’s Proposed Occupational Exposure Standards for Crystalline Silica,” is available at nahb.org/silicareport.

In other OHSA news, the agency issued a final rule for confined spaces in construction that mirrors the general industry standard, but adds an emphasis on training, monitoring and evaluating, as well as communication on multi-employer sites. The rule is set to take effect Aug. 3. Compliance materials for small businesses are available at www.osha.gov/confinedspaces/index.html.