The Silica Rule

OUR POSITION: CSS supports the silica rule.

construction-646918When the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) produced the Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica rule in 2011, it was supposed to be reviewed by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within 90 days. Years later, the rule remains stuck at OIRA with no estimated date for completion.

Silicosis is a preventable lung disease caused by inhaling small, sand-like particles produced by blasting, cutting, drilling and grinding stone materials. Silica also is linked to other diseases, such as lung cancer.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 1.7 million U.S. workers are potentially exposed to inhaled silica and many are exposed to concentrations that exceed the current limit, which is half the amount recommended by the new silica rule. NIOSH reports 200-300 deaths in the U.S. each year from 1992 to 1995.

Unfortunately for American workers, some things seem to never change. The current standards for silica exposure were written decades ago and set limits that are half the permissible levels set out in the new silica rule.



CSS Resources

Improved Silica Standards Will Save Lives
Press Release: August 23, 2013



Resources from Partners and Affiliates

Agency Extends Comment Period on Long-Overdue Worker Safety Rule
Center for Effective Government: October 28, 2013

Proposed Rule to Protect Workers Released for Public Comment
Center for Effective Government: August 27, 2013

New Study Shows Workers at Fracking Sites Exposed to Unsafe Levels of Silica Dust
Center for Effective Government: August 5, 2013

The Perils of OIRA Regulatory Review: Reforms Needed to Address Rampant Delays and Secrecy
Public Citizen: June 2013

More American Workers Will Die as Silica Rule Delayed
Center for Effective Government: February 7, 2013

New Findings Show Us How to Reduce Silica Exposure as We Wait for White House to Act
National Council for Occupational Health and Safety: February 6, 2013

A Breath of Fresh Air for Hydraulic Fracturing Workers
Public Citizen: June 22, 2012

300+ Experts Urge President Obama to Intervene to Protect Workers from Toxic Dust
Union of Concerned Scientists: January 27, 2012



Independent Reports

Hazard Alert: Worker Exposure to Silica During Countertop Manufacturing, Finishing and Installation
OSHA & NIOSH: February 2015

Health Effects of Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica
NIOSH: April 2002



Media Coverage

OSHA and NIOSH Issue Hazard Alert on Worker Exposure to Crystalline Silica
The National Law Review: February 23, 2015

Silica Rule Changes Delayed While Workers Face Health Risks
NPR: February 7, 2013

Silica Rule Sits at White House, Endangering Lives, Worker Safety Advocates Say
The Huffington Post: January 25, 2012