MIA Joins Construction Industry Safety Coalition Addressing the Proposed OSHA Silica Rule Change

Contact:
Marble Institute of America
(440) 250-9222
networking@marble-institute.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(MIA0061)

Cleveland, OH, November 1, 2013 — Many in the stone industry are paying close attention to the silica rule change proposed by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). The MIA, first and foremost, is committed to workplace safety. Our safety record stands on its own. It appears, however, that this new rule will place additional burden on business, despite the fact that consensus on the safety impact has yet to be reached. Failure to adhere to the new rule, on the other hand, could expose many shops and quarries to huge fines or penalties.

In a statement issued August 23, 2013, OSHA announced that they intend to reduce the current silica dust exposure rate by 50%. The rule change impacts many throughout the construction industry. The MIA (taking direction from the MIA safety committee, board of directors, and many other members) has made silica awareness and education one of its highest priorities for years. In reaction to the proposed rule change, the MIA has focused on two key areas:

  1. Silica Training Resources Available at No-Cost to the Stone Industry. While multiple training resources have been offered in the MIA Bookstore for years, now all are posted on a special silica webpage (www.marble-institute.com/silica) at no-cost. All stone associations affiliated with the Natural Stone Council (NSC), the Stone Fabricators Alliance, and other key organizations have been shared this website link as well. It is highly recommend that stone professionals view and/or download these resources for training purposes.
  2. Construction Industry Safety Coalition. The MIA has joined the Construction Industry Safety Coalition and is supporting their efforts both financially and with human capital. The Coalition, which includes the NSC, is currently comprised of:
    • Associated Builder and Contractors (ABC)Associated General Contractors (AGC)
    • Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry (AWCI)
    • American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)
    • American Subcontractors Association (ASA)
    • Concrete Sawing & Drilling Association (CSDA)
    • Construction & Demolition Recycling Association (CDRA)
    • International Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI)
    • International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (ICE)
    • Marble Institute of America (MIA)
    • Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
    • Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA)
    • National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
    • National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA)
    • National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA)
    • Natural Stone Council (NSC)
    • The Association of Union Contractors (TAUC)
    • Tile Roofing Institute (TRI)

 

MIA President Jonathan Zanger indicated, "like with most things, the efficiency and ultimate success of any such effort rests with our ability to speak with a unified, singular voice. Many in the construction industry will be influenced by the rule change if it goes into effect." He added, "that is why it is so important for organizations like the MIA & NSC to be involved with this coalition."

Again, the proposed rule change would cut the current limit by 50%. To better understand how the exposure limit formula is calculated, refer to page 6 of the MIA's Silicosis: An Industry Guide to Awareness and Prevention is available at no-charge online at www.marble-institute.com/silica or in hardcopy form for purchase from the MIA bookstore.

MIA Position Statement - Officially, the MIA has taken the following position:
The Marble Institute of America (MIA) is urging OSHA to maintain the current silica exposure levels as they are appropriate if adhered to. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show a greater than 90 percent reduction in the silicosis mortality rate from 1968 to 2010. It is doubtful that a further reduction of the allowable exposure limits will impact those numbers.

Advances in wet cutting and stone industry education have positively aided OSHA in the effort to curb silica exposure during the past few years. The MIA believes that OSHA will continue to have a positive impact if attention is focused on compliance at the current exposure levels.

The natural stone industry advocates the use of proper equipment, training, vigilance and continual monitoring to minimize the risk of silicosis. The MIA has produced videos, handouts, and training guidelines on awareness and prevention of silicosis, and is providing many of those resources free-of-charge to stone companies online.

Likely outcome - the impact of this ruling is difficult to forecast, but many believe that implementation will be delayed. Additionally, there is concern that the financial impact on business, from the implementation of this proposed ruling, has not been accurately measured. Thus presents another argument for an extension.

What can you do?

  1. Educate yourself about this issue.
  2. Continue to monitor/control silica exposure for your employees.
  3. Contact your legislator and educate them on this issue. Share with them the MIA position statement, as well as that of the Coalition.

 

Again, the MIA is 100% committed to workplace safety. The well being of our member companies, and the stone industry as a whole, is at the core of what we do every day. This new rule will require our members, and all companies in the stone industry, to endure additional burdens on, despite the fact that consensus on the safety impact has yet to be reached. Learn more at www.marble-institute.com/silica.

About the Marble Institute of America
Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, the Marble Institute of America (MIA) has served as the authoritative source of information on standards of natural stone workmanship and practice and the application of natural stone products for nearly 70 years. Membership in the association is worldwide and includes over 1,600 natural stone producers, exporters/importers, distributors/wholesalers, fabricators, finishers, installers, and industry suppliers committed to the highest standards of workmanship and ethics. More information can be found on the association's website: http://www.marble-institute.com.

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