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AFL-CIO Now

Silica Dust Delay Deadly for Workers

Feb. 14 will mark the second anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA's) submission of the silica dust standard for review to Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Every year that goes by without the enactment and enforcement of the proposed standard that controls workers’ exposure to silica dust, 60 workers will die, AFL-CIO Health and Safety Director Peg Seminario told NPR in a story broadcast today.

There has been incredible delay, inexcusable delay, on protecting workers against silica exposures….Unfortunately, it's been stuck over at OMB and the White House now for two years.

More than 1.7 million workers are exposed to silica dust each year, and Seminario says the estimate of 60 deaths a year is from the government’s own figures and adds:

That's not to even look at the numbers of workers who will become sick. We still have thousands of new cases of silicosis every year in this country.

Read the full story or click here to listen.  

You also can help spur action on controlling this deadly workplace hazard by signing a White House “We the People” petition urging the Obama administration to move forward with the silica dust standard. The petition requires 25,000 signatures by Feb. 11 to elicit a formal response from the White House. Click here to sign the petition.

In a message to working family activists last week urging them to sign on to the White House silica petition, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:

I can’t stress how important this issue is for hundreds of thousands of construction workers and their families. This OSHA proposal has been delayed for too long….The White House needs to hear from you. Sign the petition now.

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