US Department of Labor’s OSHA announces proposed rule to protect workers exposed to crystalline silica
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is impplementing legislation to lower worker exposure to ctystalline silicia which kills hundred of workers and sickens thousands more each year.
According to the announcement “Exposure to silica can be deadly, and limiting that exposure is essential,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “Every year, exposed workers not only lose their ability to work, but also to breathe. This proposal is expected to prevent thousands of deaths from silicosis-an incurable and progressive disease-as well as lung cancer, other respiratory diseases and kidney disease. We’re looking forward to public comment on the proposal.”
OSHA estimates the proposed rule would result in saving nearly 700 lives per year and prevent 1,600 new cases of silicosis annually.
Exposure to airborne silica dust occurs in operations involving cutting, sawing, drilling and crushing of concrete, brick, block and other stone products and in operations using sand products, such as in glass manufacturing, foundries and sand blasting.
“The proposed rule uses common sense measures that will protect workers’ lives and lungs-like keeping the material wet so dust doesn’t become airborne,” added Michaels. “It is designed to give employers flexibility in selecting ways to meet the standard.”