OSHA/Safety Issues

Heat Stress


In accordance with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA), OSHA convened a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) panel to gather feedback from small businesses on the impact a heat injury and illness prevention standard might have on their operations. Following this series of meetings, the SBAR panel issued a final report with specific recommendations for OSHA to consider when writing a proposed rule. During this time, OSHA reopened the rulemaking docket to allow additional time for interested stakeholders to submit comments on its SBAR Panel materials.

  • CISC Comments: CISC’s Response to the SBAR Panel Meetings and Report – December 22, 2023

CISC submitted comments in response to OSHA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Heat Injury and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings.  The CISC raised concerns with potential regulatory approaches OSHA might take that would impose complicated requirements on construction contractors working in hot environments.  CISC also recommended that if OSHA does take a regulatory approach, if adopted, it must be simple and should integrate the key concepts of “Water, Rest, and Shade”, as well as calling on OSHA to consider a separate regulatory approach specifically for the construction industry.

The House Education and Labor Committee advanced the “Asunción Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act of 2022” (H.R. 2193).  The CISC has significant concerns with the proposed language in H.R. 2193 that ignores the rulemaking process that OSHA has currently undertaken for a heat standard, as well as other steps the Agency has already taken to address work-related heat exposures, including increased heat illness enforcement, forming a heat advisory work group to engage stakeholders, and updating its heat safety campaign.

  • CISC Comments: CISC’s Letter for the Record,  H.R. 2193 – July 27, 2022

The House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing July 11, 2019 on legislation introduced to require OSHA to promulgate a heat exposure standard.  The CISC shares the goals of H.R. 3668 – the “Asuncion Valdivia Heat Illness and Fatality Prevention Act of 2019” – to protect employees from exposure to excess heat and to prevent heat illness from occurring in construction employees. However, the CISC has significant concerns with the approach taken in the legislation to accomplish these goals.

  • CISC Comments: CISC’s Letter for the Record,  H.R. 3668 – August 8, 2019

Hazard Communication


OSHA proposed to modify the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to conform to the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) Revision 7. In general, the CISC supports OSHA’s adoption of the. However, the CISC is concerned with the familiarization, training, and compliance costs imposed on the construction industry by continuous updates to OSHA’s HCS.



The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) proposed to amend its existing standards to better protect miners against occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica and to improve respiratory protection for all airborne hazards. MSHA’s proposed changes would also affect construction activity at these covered mining sites, despite a standard on respirable crystalline silica in place for the construction industry under OSHA.

The CISC submitted comments in response, calling for the agency to align its standard for surface mining, and other construction-related, activities with OSHA’s existing silica standard.


OSHA took the first step in reopening the silica rule by issuing a Request for Information (RFI) seeking comment and data that could assist the agency in assessing whether revisions to the silica standard are needed. Specifically, OSHA requested feedback on additional dust control methods not currently included for tasks and equipment listed on Table 1, as well as additional tasks or equipment that are not currently included on Table 1 that could be added.

The CISC supports OSHA issuing this RFI and encourages OSHA to move quickly with rulemaking to permit contractors additional compliance options and tools.


On August 13, OSHA released a set of 53 frequently asked questions – and their answers – to provide guidance to employers and employees on its respirable crystalline silica standard for construction. The CISC was an important contributor to the formulation of this FAQ and their development stemmed from litigation filed against OSHA in 2016 by CISC members challenging the legality of the new silica rule.


OSHA issued the final silica rule for construction. The new rule reduces the permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an eight-hour shift, and requires employers to use engineering controls (such as water or ventilation) and work practices to limit worker exposure, provide respiratory protection when controls are not able to limit exposures to the permissible level, limit access to high-exposure areas, train workers, and provide medical exams to highly exposed workers.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a proposed rule on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica. CISC membership has been an active participant throughout the rulemaking process by submitting written comments and testifying at the public hearing.  CISC believes OSHA has not met its burden of demonstrating that the proposal is technologically and economically feasible.

CISC shares OSHA’s desire to ensure that all workers are protected from unsafe levels of silica exposure and illnesses that it creates. Our organizations and their respective members encourage OSHA to work with the construction industry to ensure the positive reduction in silicosis-related diseases and fatalities continue.

For more information on the rulemaking:

Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process


On August 30, OSHA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) amending the regulations concerning the employee representative designation process for accompanying an agency Compliance Safety and Health Officer during an inspection. Specifically, the agency’s proposed changes attempt to clarify that authorized employee representative(s) may include employees of the employer or a “third-party” when a third-party representative is “reasonably necessary” to aid in the inspection.

CISC, however, believes the proposed changes offer no clarity on the relevant issues and will result in significant and substantial risks to employers. Additionally, CISC argues the proposal conflicts with OSHA enforcement policy and guidance on whom should be allowed entry onto private property and participation in a government inspection.



On October 8, OSHA issued a new proposed standard for occupational exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds in the construction.  The CISC believes strongly that a comprehensive standard regulating beryllium exposure in construction is unnecessary from a safety and health standpoint and would impose unnecessary burdens on construction contractors.

The CISC believes OSHA has not presented substantial evidence demonstrating the need to lower the permissible exposure limit (“PEL”) for beryllium in construction, adopt a lower short term exposure limit (“STEL”), or to justify various ancillary provisions.


OSHA issued a proposed rule to revoke and remove the ancillary provisions for the construction and the shipyard sectors that OSHA adopted on January 9, 2017 but retain the new lower PEL  and the short-term exposure limit (STEL).  The CISC believes the rulemaking record does not support a need for a reduced PEL and the addition of a STEL in construction. In addition, the CISC believes the substantial evidence in the record does not demonstrate that a significant risk of material harm exists to construction workers as it relates to exposure to beryllium and beryllium compounds, nor does the evidence show that the proposed rule will substantially reduce that risk.

Powered Industrial Trucks


OSHA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comments on the agency updating the design and construction requirements of the powered industrial trucks (i.e., forklifts) standard for construction by incorporating by reference the applicable provisions of the most relevant national consensus standards from the American National Standards Institute/Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation (ANSI/ITSDF).  The CISC is concerned with OSHA’s decision to delegate its rulemaking authority to a third-party committee’s standards by reference and that agency has failed to account for costs that the construction industry will undoubtedly face if the proposed rule is adopted.


OSHA issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking comment on issues related to the requirements in the standard for Powered Industrial Trucks (PITs).  The CISC is concerned is that the types of forklifts used in construction are different than other forklifts used in a warehouse setting. Therefore, if OSHA is intent on revising the PITs rule, the agency needs to consider the distinct differences of the construction industry and any rulemaking for constructor should be pursued separately from a general industry/maritime rulemaking.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

OSHA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) requesting feedback on its revisions to the agency’s personal protective equipment standard in construction. Specifically, OSHA proposed to revise its standard to state that PPE must fit properly to protect workers from workplace hazards. This revision would align the language in the PPE standard for construction with the corresponding language in OSHA’s PPE standards for general industry and maritime.

Standards Improvement Project (SIP-IV)

OSHA proposed revisions to eighteen (18) existing standards in its recordkeeping and construction standards, focusing on removing or revising outdated, duplicative, or unnecessary requirements.  CISC maintains that the proposals contained in SIP-IV discussed above do more than simply remove or revise outdated, duplicative, unnecessary, and inconsistent OSHA standards. Instead, they represent substantive changes to the standards which impose significant new costs and burdens on employers and thus are not appropriate as part of the SIP rulemaking.

The CISC objected to certain proposed changes that were not suitable to be handled in the SIPs process, which including: 1)  a requirement that construction employers ensure that PPE properly “fits”; and 2) a requirement that would change the burden of proof for hazard identification under the construction excavation standard.  The CISC was pleased that the OSHA listened to our concerns and the agency  pulled back on these two proposed requirements in the final rule and did not include them, choosing to conduct a formal rulemaking at a later time for these issues.

  • Final Rule: Published in the Federal Register – May 14, 2019

Chemical Management and PELs Update

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a request for information on Chemical Management and Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs).

CISC strongly believes that the statutory substantive and procedural requirements for rulemaking set by Congress must be followed by the Agency and that the Agency continue to provide notice and an opportunity for comment on all analytical issues and approaches OSHA takes to regulate hazardous chemicals and the CISC believes that OSHA must continue to consider construction separately from general industry and maritime given the unique and variable conditions on construction worksites.