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NAHB Urges Congress to Stop New Silica Rules

 

NAHB Chairman Ed Brady today urged Congress to take action to keep the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new silica standards from taking effect.

Testifying before the House Education and Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, Brady said that “our members are deeply committed to taking meaningful action to provide a safe work and construction environment, including reducing exposure to silica. However, we believe the new rule will not only fail to achieve these aims, but it will also do great harm to businesses, consumers and the economy.”

Walberg, Brady

Subcommittee Chair Tim Walberg (R-Mich., left) poses with NAHB Chair Ed Brady.

Brady, who also appeared before the House panel as a representative of theConstruction Industry Safety Coalition, 25 trade associations representing members from all facets of the industry, called the final regulation:

  • Technologically impracticable. To meet the new standards, the rule would require construction firms to develop and install engineering and work practice controls to mitigate or remove silica dust that are beyond current technology.
  • Economically infeasible. OSHA’s Preliminary Economic Analysis failed to recognize the distinction between new construction and remodeling, or the relationship between a general contractor and its subcontractors. The agency’s out-of-date economic data drastically underestimates the costs to the construction industry, which could run $4.9 billion per year, an amount nearly eight times larger than OSHA’s estimates. The cost of this most significant health and safety rule ever issued for the construction sector will be passed to the consumer in the form of higher prices. As the cost of housing increases and access to credit remains tight, home buyers and renters will have fewer safe, decent and affordable housing options.
  • Unworkable in terms of requiring medical surveillance of construction industry workers. The rule offers no guidance to determine if employees may reasonably be expected to be exposed to silica dust. In the absence of such guidance, the employer’s only option is to perform health screening that OSHA itself estimates will cost $377.77 per employee. Virtually all the nation’s 3.2 million construction workers will cut and drill and grind during the course of their work without knowing the silica content of the material they are working on. If each employee required only one  screening per year, the tally would be roughly $1.2 billion.
  • The wrong solution to make the workplace safer. Though the intent of the rule is to protect workers from toxic dust particles, the final provisions display a fundamental misunderstanding of the real world of construction. This one-size-fits-all rule places restrictions on certain construction site work practices, which contradict existing safety procedures.

“We strongly urge OSHA to re-examine and reassess how its final rule will negatively harm the construction industry, job growth, consumers and the economy while doing little to improve the health and safety of industry workers,” said Brady. “Given that it is unlikely the agency will change course, Congress must take the lead and act swiftly to craft legislation that will keep this fundamentally flawed rule from taking effect.”

For additional information on the new rule, contact Rob Matuga at 202-266-8507.

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Registration open for 2016 Sunbelt Builders Show 

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Join the Texas Association of Builders for the 2016 Sunbelt Builders Show™. The two-day event is schedule for Aug. 3-4 at the prestigious Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. Don't miss out on the discounted room rate of $215 that is offered for Sunbelt attendees. After doing business on the trade show floor, enjoy the 4.5 acres of indoor gardens, the Paradise Springs Lagoon, Waterslide and Lazy River or unwind at Relache Spa & Salon.

Don't wait, register early and book your hotel rooms before they are gone. A detailed schedule of events can be found on the Sunbelt Builders Show™ website.

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Texas Association of Builders 2016 Energy Code Training
TAB
Easing and Improving State Energy Code Mandates on Builders and Consumers.
TAB pursued and won a significant victory during the 2015 Legislative Session by passing HB 1736 into law. This laudable piece of legislation implements intelligent and rational energy code policy that will result in significantly better compliance rates and allow for more cost effective implementation of the state energy code. What's included in the 2-hour class?

The Energy Code Training classes are being held around the state through the local home builders associations. Open to members and non-members. Please contact the local HBA in your area to register for the class. 2016 Energy Code Training Schedule and Locations

Thank you to our Energy Code Training sponsors Fox Energy Specialists, Bonded Builders Warranty Group, Environments for Living and StrucSure Home Warranty.

 

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