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Silica final rule one step closer to publication

OSHA says rulemaking will reduce lung cancer, pulmonary disease, kidney disease

Posted December 28, 2015

On December 21, OSHA submitted the “Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica” final rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The OMB will review the rule to ensure that OSHA has followed proper rulemaking protocol, such as estimating costs and benefits of the rule for businesses, as well as considering public comment.

The OMB has been taking several months to complete their reviews. However, once that review is completed, OSHA can publish a final rule.

OSHA estimates that the rule will curb lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease associated with crystalline silica, which kills hundreds of workers and sickens thousands more each year. Crystalline silica is a significant component of the earth's crust, and many workers in a wide range of industries are exposed to it in general industry, construction, and maritime. Exposures occur when workers cut, grind, crush, or drill silica-containing materials such as concrete, masonry, tile, and rock. Although the agency has attempted to address this problem through a variety of non-regulatory approaches, including initiation of a Special Emphasis Program on silica in October 1997, it realized that its out-of-date permissible exposure limits (PELs) and inability to reflect current sampling and analytical technologies required a rulemaking.


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