Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Carolyn Bobb: 202-637-5018

Press Release

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.

###

AFL-CIO Logo

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) works tirelessly to improve the lives of working people. We are the democratic, voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions that represent 12.5 million working men and women.

'Fearless and Peerless' Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO Leader, Dead at 72

The labor leader is being remembered as "a relentless champion of workers' rights, workplace safety, worker-centered trade, democracy, and so much more."

Andrea Germanos ·


ACLU Sues Over 'Illegal and Inhumane' Migrant Transportation Order in Texas

"Gov. Abbott's executive order is blatantly unconstitutional and threatens to turn Texas into a 'show me your papers' state."

Jessica Corbett ·


'We Need to Take Military Action': Israeli Defense Minister Threatens War With Iran

Denying responsibility for a deadly drone strike in the Arabian Sea, the Iranian Foreign Ministry warned that "any anti-Iran adventurism will receive an immediate and decisive response."

Jake Johnson ·


Democrats Introduce Right to Vote Act to Beat GOP Voter Suppression Blitz

"As Republican-led legislatures weaponize the Big Lie to attack our free and fair elections, it is more important than ever for Congress to affirm that voters have a right to participate in our elections."

Brett Wilkins ·


'A Half Measure': Critics Warn Biden's Electric Vehicle, Auto Emissions Plan Insufficiently Bold

"Today's proposals just aren't enough to take us where we need to go."

Andrea Germanos ·