Crystalline silica rule unwarranted, subcommittee witnesses says

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Washington – OSHA’s proposed rule to lower the permissible exposure limit of crystalline silica is unwarranted for some manufacturers, according to witnesses who testified March 9 before the House Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending Subcommittee.

On behalf of the Reston, VA-based Brick Industry Association, Terry Schimmel testified (.pdf file) that the current PEL protects brick workers, and costs to meet a lower level would not result in demonstrated health benefits.

Michael Kamnikar, vice president of the Cleveland-based Forging Industry Association, in written testimony (.pdf file), called OSHA’s shift from a “more collaborative posture to a more adversarial approach toward business very alarming.” He noted that the recently withdrawn OSHA interpretation on noise standard enforcement had not gone through a typical rulemaking process and businesses spent “substantial amounts of time and money” responding to the interpretation.

Ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) cautioned against focusing solely on the cost of regulations, noting regulations can have a positive impact on the economy and families.

The hearing, which mainly focused on the Environmental Protection Agency, is one of several scheduled to take place on Capitol Hill to examine the effect of government regulations on the economy.

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