Iowa Governor Writes Letter Asking OSHA to Withdraw Proposed Silica Rule
February 23, 2014
On Feb. 11, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad submitted a letter to Thomas Perez, Secretary of the U.S. Labor Department, calling for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to withdraw or significantly alter its proposed rule to cut in half the current permissable exposure limit for crystalline silica. Branstad was contacted by several companies in his state, including metalcasting facility Sivyer Steel, to explain how the rule could critically damage the state's economics.
In the letter, Brandstad points to the already considerably reduced silicosis rate and the significantly underestimated compliance costs provided by OSHA as reasons to retract the rule.
"The proposed rule would have a significant negative impact on several industries in Iowa and across the nation and is a prime example of Federal regulatory overreach," the Governor writes.
Also on Feb. 11, AFS submitted comprehensive comments to OSHA on its proposal to revise the current standard for occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica. This is one of the most comprehensive rulemakings the agency has undertaken, with significant economic consequences to the metalcasting industry because the majority of facilities use silica sand to produce metal castings.
Public hearings are scheduled to begin March 18 in Washington, D.C., and expected to last for several weeks. Several metalcasting facility owners, AFS staff, and outside consultants will be providing testimony at the hearings. AFS also will be filing post-hearing comments following the public hearings. In the meantime, AFS is reaching out to members of Congress and educating them and their staff about the devastating impact OSHA’s proposal will have on metalcasting facilities.