OSHA’s estimated cost of silica rule said to underestimate impact by $4.5 billion annually

The coalition says that OSHA’s flawed cost estimates point to flaws in the rule, and has urged the federal agency to reconsider its approach. 

April 22, 2015 |
OSHA’s estimated cost of silica rule said to underestimate impact by $4.5 billion annually

The Construction Industry Safety Coalition will cost the industry $5 billion per year. Image: Morgue File/PenMac

A new report by the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) found that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) proposed silica standards for U.S. construction industry will cost the industry $5 billion per year. That’s about $4.5 billion per year more than OSHA’s estimate.

The coalition says that OSHA’s flawed cost estimates point to flaws in the rule, and has urged the federal agency to reconsider its approach. The proposed rule aims to greatly reduce the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of crystalline silica for the construction industry.

The agency pegged the cost to the construction industry at about $511 million a year. “The OSHA analysis included major errors and omissions that account for the large discrepancies with the CISC report,” according to a statement from the industry group.

The CISC report estimates that about 80% of the cost ($3.9 billion/year) will be direct compliance expenditures by the industry such as additional equipment, labor and record-keeping costs.

The remaining 20% will come from increased prices that the industry will have to pay for construction materials and building products such as concrete block, glass, and roofing shingles. OSHA’s estimates failed to take into account these additional costs, CISC says. The added cost would be passed down to customers, the industry group says.

Overlay Init