Two trade groups have asked the Department of Labor to re-examine a controversial new OSHA regulation.
The American Foundry Society (AFS) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) have formally asked newly-confirmed Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta to re-open the rule making process for OSHA’s new Respirable Crystalline Silica regulation on a limited basis.
The request was in the form of a letter to Acosta, hand delivered and dated May 3, 2017, and signed by Amanda Wood, Director of labor and employment policy for the National Association of Manufacturers, and Doug Kurkul, CEO for the American Foundry Society.
In the letter, Wood and Kurkul outline several concerns over the new regulation, which has been published in the Federal Register but won’t take effect for general industry employers, including foundries, until June, 2018. The letter asks Acosta to re-open the rulemaking process to address several issues having to do with the technical feasibility of complying with the new Permissible Exposure Limit as well as economic feasibility of the regulation as a whole.
The letter states that NAM and AFS membership simply can not comply with the new requirements, and are being required to spend billions of dollars in futile attempts to meet the “impossible” standards.
The letter also asks Acosta to delay enforcement of the regulation while their concerns are resolved, so that employers will not be forced to spend thousands – even millions – of dollars in futile efforts to comply, only to have the requirement eliminated later.
Specifically, NAM and AFS state that OSHA has dramatically under-represented the costs of complying with the new Permissible Exposure Limit, as well as ancillary requirements such as respiratory protection, medical surveillance, training, etc. They also call out requirements pertaining to housekeeping, which prohibit commonplace housekeeping techniques such as dry sweeping and brushing.
You can view the letter here: Acosta Letter – May 3, 2017
You can also view the petition document from NAM and AFS here: 2017-05-03_Petition for Administrative Stay_General Industry
Acosta may be a sympathetic ear to NAM and AFS. He is a former member of the National Labor Relations Boards (NLRB) and has participated in over 125 opinions. His legal opinions and decisions have nearly always favored employers and he has been a critic of workplace regulations.