On September 17, 2013, in response to OSHA’s recently released proposed silica rule, the Natural Stone Council’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to join the newly formed Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC).

The CISC is seeking practical and cost-effective crystalline silica regulation that improves safety and health protection measures for workers. The Coalition represents thousands of employers working to protect hundreds of thousands of workers in home building, road repair, heavy industrial production, specialty trades, materials supply, and now the natural stone industry.

Duke Pointer, Executive Director of the Natural Stone Council (NSC), stated the NSC does not believe that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) proposal to reduce the permissible exposure level of silica by 50% is practical, cost effective or based on current data that will significantly reduce silicosis. Because this opinion is shared by the major trade associations in the construction industry, the NSC believes this is an excellent opportunity to work with the CISC and OSHA, to develop regulations that are adequate to protect the safety and health of workers, are consistently enforced, and do not overly burden small businesses.

The NSC joins a Coalition comprised of: Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC); Associated General Contractors (AGC); Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry (AWCI); America Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA); American Subcontractors Association (ASA); International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (ICE); Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA)- a NSC member ; Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA); National Association of Home Builders (NAHB); National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA); and National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). The addition of the NSC adds forty thousand workers represented by its member affiliates.

Mr. Pointer stated that the NSC approved a $2,500 contribution to the CISC. “Along with the MCAA, and the Marble Institute of America (MIA), other individual affiliates of the NSC will be supporting the coalition separately. We encourage everyone in the dimension stone industry to contribute to this cause and to the NSC. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) stated it will follow OSHA’s lead on the silica rule, so this is a very important issue for the entire dimension stone industry.”

Formed in 2003, the NSC unites a diverse industry of natural stone producers by bringing together the various natural stone associations to actively promote the attributes of natural stone. The NSC is funded entirely through donations. To learn about the NSC, its initiatives, and to pledge support, visit www.naturalstonecouncil.org. Duke Pointer can be contacted at info@naturalstonecouncil.org.