Statement by IUPAT General President Kenneth Rigmaiden on OSHA’s Final Rule Regulating Workers’ Exposure to Silica
Hanover, MD – The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades is pleased OSHA has issued the final rule governing the exposure of workers to the deadly dust known as crystalline silica.
Prior to today’s announcement, the permissible exposure limit of silica was not adequate to protect construction workers from the risk of silicosis, an incurable lung disease, and lung cancer. In fact, over 2,000 Americans have died from silicosis since the year 2000. Today’s actions will have a positive and lasting impact on the working conditions for all construction workers.
I congratulate Labor Secretary Tom Perez, and Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels for their diligent work to issue a final rule on crystalline silica today. I believe that the Department of Labor has been incredibly thorough in its efforts to hear from workers, employers, industry professionals and health and safety experts.
Today’s actions to limit silica exposure by the Department of Labor is a major step in further protecting workers in construction from exposure to toxic chemicals and dusts, and the IUPAT looks forward to continuing to work with the DOL on advances that remain to be made for worker safety.