The HWC Applauds OSHA’s Decision to Increase Protections for Workers Exposed to Silica Dust

On Friday, August 23, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) announced a proposed rule that would reduce levels to which workers can be exposed to crystalline silica. Workers who cut, saw, or drill concrete, brick, or stone can be exposed to silica dust, which over time and increased exposure, can cause lung cancer and kidney disease. “The Heartland Workers Center commends OSHA in moving forward to provide greater protections for workers,” stated Sergio Sosa, HWC Executive Director. “Exposure to silica dust can be debilitating and deadly, but it is preventable. The steps OSHA is taking to improve protections benefit not only the lives of the workers, but also their families and the community”.

“The rules proposed by OSHA make sense – wet the material before cutting to avoid the creation of silica dust,” stated Abbie Kretz, HWC Senior Organizer. “We hope OSHA acts quickly to make the proposed rule final and that companies begin to implement these practices for the good of their company and the longevity of their employees.”

After publication of this new proposal, the public will have 90 days to submit written comments, which will be followed by public hearings, and from there, a final decision will be made. For more information on the crystalline silica ruling, check out OSHA’s webpage at: https://www.osha.gov/silica/index.html.