Member Input Sought on Proposed OSHA Silica Rule

Member Input Sought on Proposed OSHA Silica Rule:
NAHB is calling on members who are successfully reducing the amount of airborne silica on their jobsites to help the association respond to the crystalline silica rule announced Aug. 23.

NAHB is leading a coalition of construction industry groups concerned about the proposed rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that’s intended to protect workers from inhaling dust containing silica, created by activities such as cutting brick or block, and sawing, grinding or drilling concrete.

The proposed rule seems to call for one-size-fits-all measures that contradict existing safety and quality assurance practices for different types of contractors. For example, spraying water to keep dust down while cutting roof tiles could cause ice to form on the slanted surface, endangering workers, and ventilation and dust-capture systems can inhibit the safe operation of tools.

NAHB will post a link to the proposed rule and OSHA’s supporting documentation when it becomes available.
The coalition is seeking alternatives that also address costs, consistency with existing federal regulations and do not overly burden small businesses. If you can help, contact Rob Matuga, assistant vice president for labor, safety and health policy, at 800-368-5242 x8507.

Additional Resources
Download and print these Silica Safety Cards that NAHB has provided in both English and Spanish as a quick reference guide to safe work practices.OSHA has also prepared information on silica safety when using handheld masonry saws, as well as a guide to silica safety in construction.For more information about this item, please contact Robert Matuga at 800-368-5242 x8507 or via email at [email protected].

Employers Must Provide Notice of Health Insurance Options Soon:
State and federal health insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act open on Oct. 1. These marketplaces are websites to allow individuals and businesses to shop for health insurance plans. To help employees with their insurance selection decisions, the Department of Labor (DOL) requires all employers, regardless of size, to furnish each employee with a written notice of health insurance options.

The exact timeline for furnishing these notices has not yet been established, but it may be prudent for employers to provide the notice on Tuesday, Oct. 1, to coincide with the date that the marketplaces first open. To assist employers, DOL has provided a model notice for employers who provide health insurance and another for employers who do not.

Businesses with less than 50 employees do not have to provide health insurance, while those with more than 50 employees have until 2015 to provide coverage or face penalties.  But all businesses, regardless of size, will be required to furnish a written notice of health insurance options.

Learn more about the act’s provisions in the Affordable Health Care Act FAQ(Link to a PDF of the FAQ.)

For more information, visit the DOL website, email David Crump or Suzanne Beall at NAHB, or call David at 800-368-5242 x8491 or Suzanne at x8407.