Progressive group issues pre-emptive strike on silica rule’s cost

Already OSHA has issued preliminary economic and employment analyses, some of which are available here and here

Early estimates of the costs — and, in particular, how they would impact small businesses — raised red flags over at the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR). The center is a vocal proponent of the strengthened protections, and says it expects major business groups to exploit the findings.

“The plight of small business owners somehow always seems to pull at the heartstrings of the big businesses owners when federal agencies propose new public health and environmental protections,” said Matt Shudtz, a CPR analyst.

Preliminary OSHA figures, Shudtz writes in this piece, indicate that two-thirds of the costs of complying with the silica rule would fall on small businesses.

The CPR, however, takes exception with the criteria used to define what constitutes a small business. The OSHA analysis uses Small Business Administration’s definition, which, for the shipbuilding industry, for example, counts companies with up 1,000 workers as a small business.

Shudtz pointed to a separate OSHA analysis using 20 employees as the threshold and found that small businesses would bear just 11 percent of the costs associated with the proposed rules maritime and general industry standard, and roughly a third of the expense of complying with the construction industry standard.