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CBO: Combustible Dust Standard Carries $10 Million Annual Price Tag for OSHA

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated it would cost OSHA $10 million a year to enforce a final combustible dust standard called for by legislation introduced by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., that currently is pending Senate approval.

Implementing H.R. 5522, or the Worker Protection against Combustible Dust Explosions and Fires Act, would cost OSHA $1 million in FY 2009 and $41 million over the 2009-2013 period, CBO said. The $1 million price tag covers economic and feasibility studies to support the development of the final standard.

The annual $10 million is about a 5 percent increase in OSHA’s enforcement workload, CBO stated, but would not affect revenues or direct spending.

The bill, passed by the House of Representatives April 30, would require OSHA to issue an interim final standard regulating combustible dust within 90 days and a final standard within 18 months of the bill’s enactment.

The bill also would impose private-sector mandates on employers at industrial establishments that manufacture, process or otherwise handle materials that produce combustible dusts. However, CBO said that the cost of those mandates “is uncertain because it would depend on the rules to be established under the bill.”

In addition, because some employers already comply with safety requirements that may overlap with the rules OSHA would develop for the standard, CBO cannot determine if the aggregate costs of mandates in the bill will exceed the annual threshold established by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) for private-sector mandates. This threshold was $136 million in 2008 and is adjusted annually for inflation.

Furthermore, CBO estimates the bill will not exceed UMRA’s threshold for states, which currently is $68 million.

CBO conducted its cost estimate based on information provided by OSHA and other safety analysts.

TAGS: Archive OSHA
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