The Washington Post reports on the tension between government regulations and businesses in the wake of the rule to curb silica dust exposure by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Found in construction, maritime, and other industries, silica dust has been found to lead to silicosis, lung disease, kidney ailments, and pulmonary diseases. To curb the risk, OSHA announced its new rule to limit silica dust exposure, saying it will save 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis. OSHA estimates that 2 million construction workers are exposed to silica. OSHA and the Department of Labor say this new rule will result in a net benefit of $7.7 billion a year.
Yet, businesses impacted by this ruling say that the new rule will heavily cost companies nationwide. The CEO and President of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), Jay Timmons, in a statement said he would press Congress to block the ruling because of the billions it would cost to implement.
In a follow up statement released on April 4, the Vice President of the NAM stated that the ruling would "threaten the entire manufacturing economy" and that it "raises serious and significant legal questions, lacks economic and technical feasibility and justification and will cost billions. Relying on incredibly out-of-date data, this rule places undue burdens and irreparable harm on manufacturers, especially small and medium-sized businesses, some of which could be forced to shut their doors. Manufacturers are and have always been committed to safe workplaces, and we take pride in continuing to find ways to improve the work environment, but this unnecessary regulation is not the solution.” NAM is joined with other industry associations such as the Manufacturers' Center for Legal Action criticizing the new ruling.
This continues to reflect the tension between the U.S. government and business owners regarding this new rule.