September 9, 2013
OSHA’s proposed rule, according to an August report from our sister site, Equipment World, aims to lower worker exposure to crystalline silica, which can come from granite, limestone and other aggregates.
Exposure to the tiny particles (each one is about 100 times smaller than a grain of sand) can cause Silicosis, which David Michaels, the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said is “an incurable and progressive disease.” Inhaling the particles can also lead to lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease.
The new rule is estimated to save almost 700 lives each year and prevent 1,600 new cases of silicosis annually.
OSHA said workers at risk of exposure to silica are those “involved in cutting, sawing, drilling and crushing 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 would update the current permissible exposure limits (PFLs), which are about 40 years old.
But efforts to limit silica exposure are more than 40 years old. The first efforts to prevent Silicosis began in the 1930s, Equipment World reports.
Check out the video below to see what the U.S. Labor Department was doing to prevent Silicosis in 1938.
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