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OSHA looks at raising permissible exposure limits across the board.

Talk has surfaced in Washington, D.C., about a movement to craft legislation that encourages OSHA to update permissible exposure limits (PELs). OSHA, labor unions and some business groups have suggested that more than 130 PELs be updated. OSHA is pursuing a rule on silica to significantly decrease the current PEL of 0.1 mg/cu m.

A group is trying to come up with a legislative plan for updating PELs in response to a request by House workforce protections subcommittee chair, Charlie Norwood (R-GA). The group is expected to recommend that Congress pass legislation calling for OSHA to set up a negotiated rulemaking committee for updating PELs, but the details remain in flux.

It is still unclear whether there will be enough desire in Congress and the business community to push this through. At a time when manufacturing has lost more than 2.5 million jobs, this plan could do more damage to the U.S. economy. Companies moving overseas to escape the staggering costs of government regulations are often cited as a major reason for the loss of jobs.

Now reaching $860 billion, U.S. regulatory costs exceed the Gross Domestic Product of Canada. The U.S. Small Business Administration estimates that per-employee regulatory costs amount to $7000 for small firms. Throw taxes and spiking health insurance costs into the mix and it's easy to understand the manufacturers' migration overseas.
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Title Annotation:Washington Alert; Occupational Safety and health Administration
Comment:OSHA looks at raising permissible exposure limits across the board.(Washington Alert; Occupational Safety and health Administration)
Publication:Modern Casting
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2003
Words:232
Previous Article:U.S. Dept. of Defense Metalcasting Research signed into law.
Next Article:Manufacturing opportunities continue to multiply overseas.
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