It’s a positive thing that OSHA has become more strict on Silica standards, nobody would complain about that, but where people are complaining is in the lack of enforcement of these new standards. OSHA can make the standards as strict as they want but if they have cannot monitor and enforce the standards they are not worth much more than the paper they are written on.
Many in the industry are accusing OSHA of exaggerating the benefits of the new standards, claiming they will reduce the number of silica cases by 1,600 per year. This number would be true if everyone was in compliance with the new standards, however this couldn’t be further from reality. Many are saying that it would be extremely naive to believe that all businesses are going to comply with these new standards, especially small businesses, which often fly under OSHA’s radar.
If we really want to keep workers safe from silica exposure it would be much better to vamp up enforcement of even the current standards, many have argued, instead of passing more strict standards that will be difficult to fully enforce.