Silica Rule Misses Opportunity to Improve Current Construction Practices

Share Article

OSHA and the OMB recently received testimony from ICPI regarding silica exposure.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently received testimony from the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI). The ICPI emphasized how OSHA’s education and safety training of silica mitigation best practices would be more effective in reducing silica exposure and increasing construction worker safety than promulgating new rules that cut silica exposure limits to an unattainable one-fifth of current levels.

“The construction industry needs to understand the risks associated with exposure to respirable silica and how they can provide better protection for their workers. OSHA’s resources would be better spent educating workers than trying to implement a new rule that is essentially impossible to meet,” said Charles McGrath, the ICPI Executive Director.

As noted in ICPI’s written testimony, this organization representing the segmental concrete pavement industry asked OSHA to not change the current exposure limits, and instead help educate more contractors about silicosis, and how to meet the current regulations. An emphasis on education and training by OSHA could supplement current efforts by ICPI to educate contractors on workplace safety. Since, 1996 more than 25,000 installers have taken the ICPI Concrete Paver Installer Course which specifically addresses using personal protection equipment that greatly reduces exposure to jobsite dust inhalation.

The final rule published on Wednesday reduces the permissible exposure limit to 50 μg/m3 with an actionable limit of 25 μg/m3. The final rule provides specific methods to reduce exposure risks, but the methods are limited, and the methods used in the segmental pavement industry require the use of respirators. Methods used that are not specified or in cases where respirators are used for more than 30 days per year will require annual medical examinations.

Like contractor education, OSHA’s current rules would see wider compliance if OSHA took a supportive role to help educate workers that make and build with segmental concrete paving products. This would help decrease OSHA’s perceived adversarial role and help achieve the compliance with current exposure limits sought by the construction industry.

ICPI is a member of the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) and the American Chemical Council Silica Panel through the Concrete and Masonry Related Associations that reviewed and responded to OSHA’s proposed rule. Both organizations presented evidence that the rule was not technologically or economically feasible within construction and manufacturing. ICPI plans to continue to work with these two groups to determine our next course of action.

About ICPI
The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) supports its members in assuring segmental concrete pavement systems are the preferred choice for sustainable and environmentally friendly pavements in North America. ICPI aims to increase awareness, use and acceptance of segmental concrete pavement systems in North America through the development of marketing and technical resources for design professionals, contractors and homeowners. To learn more about ICPI, visit

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Meredith Hoydilla
Follow us on
Visit website