The Convincing Case Against OSHA’s Silica Rule A

wise person once said that if the people writing federal regulations on businesses also had to bear the burden of comply-

ing with them, the rules would be written much differently. OSHA’s respirable crystalline silica rule, which was issued on March 24, 2016, is a case in point. During the rulemaking process, AFS provided

the agency with compelling analyses that dem- onstrated, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the rule would be both technologically and economi- cally infeasible for the foundry industry. The agency ignored the strongest possible

evidence, and produced a rule that OSHA is slated to begin enforcing in June of 2018. AFS immediately teamed up with the National As- sociation of Manufacturers on a legal challenge. A subpanel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is slated to hear our arguments on the case in late September. AFS supports

worker protections that are based on sound science and are technologically and economically feasible. T e OSHA rule fails that test. It is based on outdated, decades-old data. In fact, the last Small Business Regula- tory Enforcement Fairness Act review on the issue was con- ducted in 2003. Regulators vastly

Imagine a fed-

eral regulation that each year would cost 276% of the industry’s profits. That is exactly the scenario here. Since the elec-

tion, AFS has communicated to the new presidential administration our strong rulemaking record exposing the serious flaws in OSHA’s risk analy- ses and cost estimates. We continue to urge the Trump Administration to reopen the record on the rule. Numerous members of Congress have voiced identical requests. If there is no regulatory

It is unfortunate that U.S. manufacturers

have to sue their own government, but AFS will continue to vigorously fi ght for the future of the

metalcasting industry.

underestimated the annual cost of the rule, which can eas- ily run over $1 million per metalcasting plant. The rule requires foundries to adopt extensive engineering and work-practice controls—an out- dated approach—to limit silica exposures instead of other available technologies, such as personal protective equipment. Even with the massive outlays the rule will require, there is no guaran- tee of compliance.

relief by late September, the court case will proceed. It is unfortunate that U.S. manufacturers have to sue their own government, but AFS will continue to vigorously fight for the future of the metalcasting industry. We welcome your corporate membership investment as we wage this vital battle for the future of the foundry industry in the United States.

Doug Kurkul, AFS CEO

If you have any comments about this editorial or any other item that appears in Modern Casting, email managing editor Shannon Wetzel at

August 2017 MODERN CASTING | 7

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