NRMCA President Testifies Before OSHA on Proposed Silica Rule

Last Friday, NRMCA President Robert Garbini (shown at far left here along with other industry executives) testified before the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in opposition to the agency’s proposed new standard for respirable crystalline silica. During his testimony, Garbini stated that OSHA was basing the perceived necessity for a new standard on faulty information and on assumptions that run counter to current data that show a clear decline in silicosis cases. Garbini also laid out exactly how OSHA failed to understand and characterize the ready mixed concrete industry.

Garbini asked the question, "Since OSHA has clearly not done its homework, how is this proposal not premature?" He concluded his comments by stating that, "NRMCA and the concrete industry support maintaining a silica standard to protect American workers; however, a change from the current standard, PEL, and added action level are unwarranted and indefensible, as proven by current data and industry’s adherence to the current regulations." Garbini’s testimony is in addition to numerous prior comments NRMCA has submitted to OSHA on the issue, and ongoing legislative efforts before Congress.

OSHA’s proposal to overhaul the current permissible exposure limits (PELs) for respirable crystalline silica would:
• Reduce the PEL from 100 micrograms per cubic meter of air (μg/m3), as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA), down to just 50 μg/m3, 8-hour TWA;
• Require measuring of silica that workers can be exposed to if it is at or above 25 μg/m3, 8-hour TWA;
• Limit worker access to areas where the PEL is above 50 μg/m3, 8-hour TWA;
• Require dust controls to reduce worker exposure to limits above the new PEL;
• Direct employers to provide respirators to workers when dust controls cannot reduce worker exposure to limits above the new PEL;
• Mandate medical exams every three years for workers who are exposed to limits for 30 or more days a year above the new PEL;
• Require new worker training; and
• Require new recordkeeping requirements.

The proposed rule, factsheets, frequently asked questions, hearing and comment information can be found at For more information, contact Gary Mullings at or Kevin Walgenbach at

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association