Silica exposure due to an unsafe work practice. Photo by NIOSH/John Rekus.Frustrated by delays in the review of a proposed OSHA silica rule, occupational health advocates have launched  an online petition meant to compel the Obama administration to make good on its promise to support the U.S. labor force.

Organizers of the petition – which can be found in the “We the People” section of the White House website – say they need 100,000 signatures by March 17 in order to reach the goal they’ve set.

The petition, which was created on February 15, urges the president to “Review workplace 'silica rule', or Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica measure 1218-AB70.”

“In February 2011, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration submitted its draft for an Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica rule to the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Though the OMB is supposed to issue a review after ninety days, over two years later it has still failed to do so.

“The proposal would tighten regulations limiting exposure to a substance identified by both the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the National Toxicology Program as carcinogenic.

“We ask that the measure be reviewed in all haste, in keeping with the administration's promises to support American labor - particularly workers' health and safety.”

A account is required to sign petitions.

The Obama administration says the “We the People” petition featured provides a new way for people to communicate with the federal government on a range of issues. If a petition generates enough support, the White House staff will review it, ensure that it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts and issue an official response.

Click here to go to the petition.