Silica Manufacturing Construction

OSHA: Petitions for review of silica rule to be consolidated

Silica exposure
Photo: Washington State Department of Transportation

Washington – Petitions that request a review of OSHA’s recently issued rule on silica exposure will be consolidated in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Court.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation selected the court at random, according to the April 12 consolidation order.

OSHA notified the panel on April 11 that “seven petitions for review of the same final agency action” were filed in six courts of appeals within 10 days after the action was issued, according to a case document.

The petitioners are:

  • North America’s Building Trades Unions – District of Columbia Circuit Court (filed April 1)
  • AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers, AFL-CIO and the Canadian Labour Congress, and United Automobile Workers – Third Circuit Court (April 1)
  • Associated Masonry Contractors of Texas DBA, Texas Masonry Council and others – Fifth Circuit Court (April 4)
  • American Foundry Society Texas Region 3/Texas Chapter of the American Foundry Society and Texas Association of Business – Fifth Circuit Court (April 4)
  • Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce – Eighth Circuit Court (April 4)
  • State Chamber of Oklahoma – 10th Circuit Court (April 4)
  • Georgia Construction Aggregate Association and the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association – 11th Circuit Court (April 4)

Critics of the rule say it is unnecessary and its requirements will be costly.

“The evidence has demonstrated that there is no additional health benefit to further reducing current exposure limits. OSHA’s rule is simply unnecessary as compliance with the existing standard fully protects workers,” NSSGA President and CEO Michael W. Johnson said in a press release. “OSHA’s justification for this stricter regulation is not based on sound science.”

OSHA issued the rule, intended to protect workers from respirable silica dust, on March 25. The agency claims the rule will save more than 600 lives and prevent more than 900 cases of the lung disease silicosis each year. Under the rule’s construction standard, employers have until June 23, 2017, to comply with most requirements. Under the general industry and maritime standard, employers have until June 23, 2018, to meet most requirements.

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