Silica, often referred to as quartz, is a very common mineral. It is found in many materials common on construction sites, including soil, sand, concrete, masonry, rock, granite, and landscaping materials.
Dr. David Michaels, five years into his job as OSHA boss and the longest-serving OSHA leader in agency history, gave a state of the OSHA nation report at ASSE’s Safety 2014 conference in Orlando this past June. These were his main talking points:
Dozens of associations and experts scheduled to speak
March 20, 2014
OSHA’s effort to reduce the permissible exposure limits for silica began a new phase this week, with an intensive three week period of public hearings that wrap up on Friday, April 4. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said his agency’s rulemaking is an open process, “and the input we receive will help us ensure that a final rule adequately protects workers, is feasible for employers, and is based on the best available evidence."
Rule "probably not entirely technologically feasible" for all employers
February 3, 2014
ASSE commends OSHA for addressing this issue through rulemaking in an effort to further reduce the incidences of occupational illnesses such as silicosis and cancer in general industry, maritime and construction work. While some may debate the science underlying the findings set forth in the proposed rule, overexposure to crystalline silica has been linked to occupational illness since the time of the ancient Greeks, and reduction of the current permissible exposure limit (PEL) to that recommended for years by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is long overdue.
Action could help millions exposed to silica at work
December 13, 2013
A new review highlights new developments in understanding the health effects of silica, and calls for action to reduce illness and death from silica exposure at work, including stronger regulations, heightened awareness and prevention, and increased attention to early detection of silicosis and lung cancer using low dose CT scanning.