Sand association suggests ‘win-win’ silica compromise to OSHA, OMB

Washington – The National Industrial Sand Association has suggested what it calls a “win-win solution” to allow OSHA to adopt a comprehensive crystalline silica standard while avoiding billions of dollars in projected new costs.

During a March 18 meeting with White House and OSHA officials, the industry group asserted that a lowered permissible exposure limit for silica is not justified. The current PEL can – when consistently followed – protect workers from silicosis, a deadly lung disease caused by silica, according to NISA materials obtained from the meeting.

As an alternative to lowering the PEL, NISA suggested a standard that would establish exposure assessments and medical surveillance for jobsites where employees are exposed at an action level, which typically are set at half the PEL.

The meeting was the 11th the Office of Management and Budget has hosted since it began its review of the proposed rule on Feb. 14, 2011. OMB reviews are meant to last only 90 days.

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