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OSHA Proposed Rule to Protect Workers From Silica Exposure

Posted on Oct 05, 2013

In early September, OSHA officially published its proposed rule for regulations protecting workers from dangerous levels of crystalline silica exposure in the Federal Register. If affirmed, the rule would provide a much-needed update to the much less specific, 40-year-old recommendation that is currently in place.

The 755-page rule, said by many to be the largest scale regulatory action taken by OSHA in 2013, will not only establish a lower exposure limit for crystalline silica, but provide contemporary instructions on related issues, such as:

  • How to best limit worker exposure
  • Monitoring employee health
  • Effective documentation
  • Employee awareness and education


The rule will also establish two distinct sets of standards—one for general industry and construction, the other for maritime workers.

“Every year, exposed workers not only lose their ability to work, but also to breathe,” said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. “This proposal is expected to prevent thousands of deaths from silicosis—an incurable and progressive disease—as well as lung cancer, other respiratory diseases and kidney disease.

Inhalation of crystalline silica is responsible for thousands of workplace injuries every year. OSHA estimates that the new rule could save as many as 700 lives a year—as well as preventing 1,600 cases of silicosis.

To read the full text of the proposed rule, click here.

Once published, the proposed rule is open for comment by the public for 90 days, concluding on December 11th, 2013. Following the comment period, the organization will hold public hearings.

Need help filing a Butte worker’s compensation attorney claim? Call the Ledgerwood Law Group today at 888-761-7383. Also request a copy of our special report, The Northern California Workers’ Compensation Survival Manual, available to you free.

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Thomas Ledgerwood
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