National Federation of Independent Business: Small businesses will pay a big price for new new silica rule

Andrew Wimer, 202-314-2073 or 703-298-5938 (cell)

New standard would lead to 27,000 jobs lost

Washington, DC (March 24, 2016) – The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) opposes a new rule from the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that would radically heighten standards for exposure to silica. The new rule would significantly increase monitoring costs and paperwork requirements for small business.

“The new silica rule would do real economic damage, especially to small businesses,” said Dan Bosch, NFIB Sr. Manager of Regulatory Affairs. “By our own estimate, this regulation would cost the economy $7.2 billion a year and 27,000 jobs over ten years. OSHA cannot even enforce the current standard, but is tightening the clamps anyway.”

Additionally, OSHA has not properly met its obligation to consider how the rule would impact small business. The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires the agency to reach out to small businesses. The agency is relying on a Small Business Advocacy Review panel that was convened in 2003. This panel recommended against heightening the standard.

“OSHA is shutting out the concerns of small business owners,” said Bosch “It’s been 13 years since they asked for input and the rule and workplace technology has gone through many changes since then. The review was conducted before the current President was in the Senate and before anyone had ever heard of Apple’s iPhone. In other words, it is ancient history sorely in need of an update.”

The text of the rule is more than 1,700 pages, making it almost impossible for the typical small business owner to read and comprehend. At the levels called for in the new OSHA standard, businesses will have to invest significant new resources to monitor particles at such a low level.