For Immediate Release
Carolyn Bobb: 202-637-5018
Statement of AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka on OSHA’s New Workplace Silica Standards
Today millions of workers can literally breathe easier knowing that they will not have to sacrifice their lungs and their lives by working in deadly silica dust. The new OSHA silica rules – nearly 20 years in the making – will save hundreds of workers’ lives a year.
Silica dust is a killer that causes silicosis, lung cancer and other disabling diseases. Workers in construction, foundries and ship building are exposed, and thousands of workers get sick each year. The current OSHA silica standards are 50 years old and are too weak to protect workers.
The new silica rules are the most significant OSHA standards issued in decades. They cut permissible dust exposures in half for manufacturing workers and even more for construction workers. The rules require employers to control dust through common sense measures like ventilation and water, to monitor exposures, train workers and conduct medical exams.
We applaud the Obama administration for issuing these lifesaving measures and commend Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels for their tremendous leadership and dedication to bring the silica rules to completion. The labor movement has fought for these standards for decades. We will continue to fight to defend these rules from the certain industry attacks that will come, so that workers are finally protected from this deadly dust.
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is a voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions. The AFL-CIO union movement represents 10.5 million members, including 2 million members in Working America, its new community affiliate. We are teachers and truck drivers, musicians and miners, firefighters and farm workers, bakers and bottlers, engineers and editors, pilots and public employees, doctors and nurses, painters and laborers-and more.