Safety  
Construction Coalition Files Petition  
Against OSHA About Silica Rule  
he construction industry is not  
going away quietly. Eight con-  
struction industry organizations  
filed a petition for review of the Occu-  
pational Safety and Health Administra-  
tion’s (OSHA) controversial final  
crystalline silica rule by the U.S. Court  
of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  
T
Petitioning groups included: Missis-  
sippi Road Builders’Association,Amer-  
ican Subcontractors Association of  
Texas, Pelican Chapter of Associated  
Builders and Contractors,Louisiana As-  
sociated General Contractors (AGC),  
Associated Masonry Contractors of  
Texas,Distribution Contractors Associ-  
ation, Mechanical Contractors Associ-  
ations of Texas and Texas Association  
of Builders.  
According to a joint release from the  
groups,their affiliated national organi-  
zations will move to join the petition.  
OSHA’s controversial silica rule could require glass manufacturers to re-design  
The construction and manufacturing operating furnaces and other equipment to ensure compliance.  
industries—including the glass and  
glazing sector—have been raising con- construction industry petitioners con-  
Glass industry associations have also  
cerns about OSHA’s proposal since it tinue to be active participants in the spoken out against the rule.  
was pitched in 2013. OSHA claims the rulemaking process and are dedicated  
“Our industry has already imple-  
rule is intended to limit construction to promoting healthy and safe con- mented various engineering and work  
and general industry workers’exposure struction jobsites.”  
to respirable crystalline silica by reduc- AGC chief executive officer Stephen silica exposure,” says Bill Yanek, GANA  
ing the permissible exposure limit Sandherr says its members “are deeply executive vice president.“Requiring the  
PEL).It also requires employers to im- committed to taking every possible step flat glass manufacturing industry to  
process controls to reduce crystalline  
(
plement engineering controls, offer to provide a safe construction environ- completely redesign their operating  
medical exams and develop control ment including reducing silica expo- furnaces and other manufacturing  
plans related to the issue.  
sure.” However, he says, “we have equipment and processes is not merely  
The petitioning organizations note significant concerns about whether this unreasonable as a matter of policy but  
that the industry“presented substantial new rule is technically feasible,given that also beyond OSHA’s legal authority.”  
evidence that OSHA’s proposed PEL the agency’s final permissible exposure  
Michael O’Brien, president and CEO  
was technologically and economically limit is beyond the capacity of existing of the Window and Door Manufactur-  
infeasible” but that the agency moved dust filtration and removal technology.” ers Association (WDMA), says WDMA  
forward with the PEL anyway.  
Both the construction and general in- “is evaluating the final silica rule to de-  
This and other final rule provisions dustry standards take effect on June 23, termine the potential impact on win-  
display a fundamental misunderstand- 2016. The construction industry has dow and door manufacturers and any  
ing of the real world of construction,”a until June 23, 2017 to comply, while the actions that may be needed prior to the  
statement from the groups reads.“The general industry has until June 23,2018. June 2018 implementation date.” s  
36  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | May 2016  
www.usglassmag.com