Brickmakers suffering from heavy-handed regs, report finds

The brick industry is crumbling from excessive regulation, according to a new report from the nation’s top business lobby.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported Tuesday that brick companies could spend hundreds of millions of dollars complying with federal regulations in 2016. 

The regulatory burden could force many small companies out of business, the Chamber said.

“Bureaucrats in Washington walk down Pennsylvania Avenue on bricks made by small, family-owned businesses without care for the companies and workers being destroyed by their careless regulations,” said William Kovacs, the Chamber's senior vice president for regulations.

"An increasingly complex web of regulations is making it almost impossible for small businesses to survive,” he added.

Two of the most costly regulations for bricklayers include the Environmental Protection Agency’s new air toxics standard and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s silica rules, according to the report.

The EPA’s air toxics standard could cost bricklayers $100 million each year, the Chamber said.

The proposed silica exposure limits from OSHA, meanwhile, could cost individual companies more than $900,000 to comply with in the first year.