Concrete Products

APR 2014

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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In a unified front, concrete, cement and aggregate inter- ests question the scientific basis, worker benefit claims, enforcement feasibility and compliance costs at the heart of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking On Occupational Expo- sure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. OSHA received many negative comments to its pro- posed reduction of permissible exposure limits (PEL) for quartz from current General Industry and Construction thresholds, 100 and 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air (µg/m 3 ), respectively, to a uniform 50 µg/m 3 . By the National Precast Concrete Association's reading, the proposed rule would present signifcant challenges in terms of reducing the potential re- spirable silica exposure to an almost nonexistent level; increasing the spec- ifcations on when respirators are required; and, accurately measuring a new respirable silica concentration threshold with any level of certainty based on currently available technology. Following a public comment period that saw NPCA weigh in along with fve peer groups representing key U.S. concrete production sectors, the agency scheduled mid-March to early April public hearings at the Department of Labor headquarters in Washington, D.C. OSHA offcials will hopefully take to heart the serious concerns construction materials industry representatives express on the proposed PEL threshold. In a review of public comment submissions and likely hearing presentation material (pages 6-10), we see the critical role of government affairs for an industry confronting an impractical and expensive proposal OSHA advances in the name of healthier workplaces. National Ready Mixed Concrete As- sociation President Robert Garbini cites the effectiveness of current regu- lations in protecting member producers' workers, noting: "The continued compliance with and enforcement of current silica regulations, engineering controls, and proper protective equipment use, properly and effectively limit worker silica exposure." "The best available science, to our understanding, shows that the current OSHA PEL for quartz is appropriate to protect against silica-related disease, provided it is adhered to strictly. Accordingly, achieving full compliance with, and enforcement of, the current PEL for general industry is the best way to protect silica-exposed workers," contends the American Chemistry Council Crystalline Silica Panel, whose members include the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, Lafarge North America and Vulcan Materials. "[Our] view is that the entire proposed regulation presents severe faws regarding inaccurate cost projections and incomplete consideration of all the cost impacts that occur in real-world manufacturing and construction applica- tion," adds ICPI Executive Director Charles McGrath. Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute President James Toscas offers per- haps the most spirited of challenges among his concrete industry group peers— expanding on the idea of existing PEL targets and OSHA's tracking of bad actors who fail to comply with the law. "Implementation of more stringent PELs will not affect already-noncompliant workplaces, where workers will continue to be overexposed to silica. They will only affect compliant frms. If 30–50 percent of industry cannot comply with the current PEL, how is it feasible to comply with reductions of 50–75 percent in the new PELs," he comments. "How many lives could be saved and how many cases of silicosis prevent- ed by more widespread compliance with the current PEL? Logic dictates that in a market-driven economy, to reduce the frequency of noncompliance you need to reduce the cost of compliance (or, alternatively, increase the cost of noncompliance). OSHA's approach, with PELs set to the lower limits of reliable measurement, would increase both the frequency of noncompliance and the cost of compliance." The sharp observations on the proposed rule with which Toscas concludes his commentary mirror what many in the business community feel typifes fed- eral agencies under the present administration: "impractical regulatory philos- ophy, fawed science, and a generally contemptuous attitude toward industry." EDITORIAL BY DON MARSH MINING MEDIA INTERNATIONAL EDITORIAL OFFICE 11555 Central Parkway, Suite 401 Jacksonville, Florida 32224 U.S.A. P: +1.904.721.2925 F: +1.904.721.2930 EDITOR Don Marsh, dmarsh@mining-media.com ASSISTANT EDITOR Josephine Smith, jsmith@mining-media.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Michael Florman, mflorman@mining-media.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Steve Fiscor, sfiscor@mining-media.com MINING MEDIA INTERNATIONAL CORPORATE OFFICE 8751 East Hampden Avenue, Suite B-1 Denver, Colorado 80231 U.S.A. P: +1.303.283.0640 F: +1.303.283.0641 PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER Peter Johnson, pjohnson@mining-media.com VP-SALES & MARKETING John Bold, jbold@mining-media.com U.S., CANADA SALES Bill Green, bgreen@mining-media.com GERMAN SALES Gerd Strasman, strasmannmedia@t-online.de SHOW MANAGER Tanna Holzer, tholzer@mining-media.com PRODUCTION MANAGER Dan Fitts, dfitts@mining-media.com Concrete Products, Volume 117, Issue 4, (ISSN 0010-5368, USPS 128-180) is published monthly by Mining Media Inc., 10 Sedgwick Drive, Englewood, Colorado 80113 (mining-media.com). Periodicals postage paid at Englewood Colorado, and additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40845540. Canada return address: Station A, PO Box 54, Windsor ON N9A 6J5, Email: cir- culation@mining-media.com. Current and back issues and additional resources, including subscription request forms and an editorial calander, are available online at www.concreteproducts.com. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: Free and controlled circulation to qualified subscribers. Non-qualified persons may subscribe at the following rates: USA and Canada, 1 year $72.00, 2 year $119.00, 3 year $161.00. For subscriber services or to order single copies, write to Concrete Products, 8751 East Hampden, Suite B1, Denver, Colorado 80231 USA; call +1.303.283.0640 (USA) or visit www. mining-media.com ARCHIVES AND MICROFORM: This magazine is available for research and retrieval of selected archived articles from leading electronic databases and online search services, including Factiva, LexisNexis, and ProQuest. For microform availability, contact ProQuest at 800-521-0600 or +1.734-761-4700, or search the Serials in Microform listings at www.proquest.com. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Concrete Products, P.O. Box 1337, Skokie, IL 60076. REPRINTS: Mining Media Inc, 8751 East Hampden Avenue, Suite B1, Denver, CO 80231 USA; P: +1.303.283.0640, F: 1+303.283.0641, www.mining-media.com. PHOTOCOPIES: Authorization to photocopy articles for internal corporate, personal, or instructional use may be obtained from the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) at +1.978.750.8400. To obtain further information, visit www.copyright.com COPYRIGHT 2014: Concrete Products ALL RIGHTS RESERVED dmarsh@concreteproducts.com 4 • April 2014 www.concreteproducts.com Industry tackles incendiary silica rule Concrete Products April 2014.indd 4 4/1/2014 11:38:25 AM

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