Tag archives for silicosis
Like Capt. Louis Renault in the film Casablanca, I could declare “I’m shocked, shocked to learn about the epidemic of black lung disease in the U.S.”
Federal contractors receive billions in public funds despite wage violations; Alabama’s auto industry putting workers’ lives in danger; OSHA delays life-saving silica standard; and Maryland and Nevada legislators approve paid sick leave measures.
JT Knuckles was 58 years old when he died from silicosis in 1998. I’m remembering him today as OSHA announces a new regulation to protect silica-exposed workers.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is no stranger to budget cuts — the agency is already so underfunded that it would take its inspectors nearly a century, on average, to visit every U.S. workplace at least once. In some states, it would take two centuries. Unfortunately, appropriations bills now making their way through Congress don’t bode much better for OSHA.
New investigative series examines the toll of occupational illness and the lack of federal protections; OSHA steps up its efforts to protect nurses; women janitors face sexual assault and rape risks on the night shift; and IKEA reports that raising wages worked so well, the company is set to raise them again.
While silicosis-related deaths have declined, it remains a serious occupational health risk and one that requires continued public health attention, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Over the next three weeks, more than 200 individuals are scheduled to testify at OSHA’s public hearing on its proposed silica regulation. Unlike other regulatory agencies, OSHA’s rulemaking hearings are overseen by an administrative law judge. Those who testify can cross-examine and be cross-examined by other witnesses and agency officials.
Two economists, funded by right-wing, university-housed think tanks, say OSHA’s proposed rule to protect silica-exposed workers is flawed, sloppy, weak and unsubstantiated. I can say the same for their analyses of OSHA’s work.
At least 1.7 million US workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica each year, this according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). These exposures occur in a variety of industries, among them construction, sandblasting, mining, masonry, stone and quarry work, and in the rapidly expanding method of oil and gas extraction…