Contractors, a construction industry coalition, the aggregates industry and others have commented on OSHA's final workplace exposure standard for crystalline silica that was passed March 24. They believe that the ruling was a missed opportunity to improve workplace safety without the regulatory burden.

The new ruling limits exposure to an 8-hour time-weighted average of 50 micrograms of respirable crystalline silica per cubic meter of air. Many see these limits as being above the capabilities of current technology including government departments:

“The new OSHA regulation is neither technologically nor economically feasible,” said Marc Freedman, executive director of Labor Policy for the chamber. “Compliance will be undermined by laboratories not being capable of measuring silica at the new specified levels and installing the control systems OSHA requires will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, that most employers, and certainly small businesses, will not be able to afford.”

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