Last Thursday, OSHA announced a new standard to protect workers who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica. Here are some of my favorite quotes and remarks in response to OSHA's news:
“Safety advocates worked for years to get this rule in place. Controlling silica dust is especially important to immigrant workers and other vulnerable groups, who are often assigned the dirtiest, most dangerous jobs on any worksite.” Javier Garcia Hernandez, a construction worker and former consultant for the Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health. (here)
“[Obama] administration officials appear to have instead opted to set a new standard that we know is well beyond the capabilities of current air filtration and dust removal technology.” Brian Turmail, a spokesman for the Associated General Contractors of America. (here)
"La silicosis es conocida como el asesino silencioso, "porque para cuando aparecen los síntomas, ya es demasiado tarde, y ya no hay nada que hacer." José Granados, trabajador de la construcción que vive en Houston. [“Silicosis is known as ‘the silent killer’ because by the time symptoms develop, it is too late and there is no longer anything to do.”] (here)
As reported by Reuters, “Jay Timmons, president and chief executive of the National Association of Manufacturers, said that the new rules were based on out-of-date research and that regulators had vastly underestimated the cost of the rules to businesses, which would run into the billions.” (here)
“This is a life-saving public health victory, and we thank the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for making it happen.” Georges Benjamin, MD, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association. (here)
“The major impact of OSHA’s new rule is …that it will for the first time require employers to regularly monitor the level of silica exposure in their workplaces and the health of their employees to insure companies are doing what is necessary to protect workers. That is long overdue.” Mark Ellis, president of the National Industrial Sand Association. (here)
“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.” Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO President (here)
“Yo veo por todo Houston, a los trabajadores de la construcción quitarse sus camisetas para cubrirse la nariz y la boca para no respirar el polvo de sílice en su trabajo. Ahora las empresas tendrán que tomar las medidas adecuadas para controlar el polvo de sílice.” Alejandro Zuniga, Centro de Trabajadores Fe y Justicia. [“I see construction workers all over Houston pull shirts over their noses and mouths to stop from breathing in the dust. Now companies will have to take the proper steps to control silica dust.”] (here)
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, "The new OSHA regulation is neither technologically nor economically feasible." Marc Freedman, US Chamber of Commerce. (here)
And on this last point, the US Court of Appeals will have the final say on whether OSHA's silica rule is feasible. The Chamber of Commerce and other opponents of the new regulation now have 60 days to file a lawsuit challenging the OSHA rule.
In the meantime, do you have your own favorite quote about the new OSHA silica rule?
Postscript (April 1, 2016):
Bloomberg BNA's Stephen Lee provides a number of additional interesting quotes about OSHA's silica rule in the publisher's Occupational Safety & Health Reporter.
“As a result, small and medium-sized manufacturers could be forced to close their doors while others will be saddled with crushing regulations.” Jay Timmons, National Association of Manufacturers.
“The administration used 13-year-old, incomplete data on small businesses to inform today's decision. That has never been done before and shouldn't be done at all. ... The agency should withdraw the rule and use more current data.” Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
And this one, from an uniformed Republican congressman from Nevada, Cresent Hardy:
“The desert Southwest—which is California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona—[have] major pockets of recreation areas that are nothing more than silica sand. We go to our beaches, we play on them. Should there be a regulation there to force people to stay off that?"
The congressman has obviously never talked to a worker who suffers from a silica-related disease. I was generous in calling him "uniformed."
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It's nice that at least one industry group (National Industrial Sand Association) has thoughtful and positive things to say about the new rules.
The cynic in me wonders if they have already implemented these rules, possibly for some other reason?
Regarding Silica Rules: An awful lot of modern business is dependent upon on turning a blind eye towards, and keeping people ignorant of, the sacrifices of the lives and health of other human beings. Transactions are made through paychecks that amount to the sale of life and health by people ignorant of what risks they are taking, with people who may or may not understand what they are paying for . People who don't know what they are doing trade their work and subsequent exposure to toxins for money. But calling attention to this situation is often considered to be some kind of taboo, presumably because it threatens the whole value system by which goods and services are allocated. Oh well. Maybe the next generation of humans will make a breakthrough and find a better system for allocation of resources. Hopefully it will be something beyond capitalism or communism. Maybe someone will come up with a system in which human health and well being is valued more highly than materialist toys for “captains” or “commissars” " or "supreme leaders" of industry or the republic.
This signals the end of using implosion as a form of demolition. It is about time. There was all kind of nastiness in the dust cloud, respirable silica,aspergillus, heavy metals and all the hidden asbestos they couldn't find and remove.