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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 material 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 yearly. 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 Institute, National 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 White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs completed its review of the updated confined spaces in construction rule, which is expected to be released as a final rule soon. Although the regulation’s requirements have yet to be announced, the rule is expected to have the greatest impact on construction work that takes place underground, inside large pipes and inside storage tanks. OSHA’s last detailed explanation of the rule was published in 2007.

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