Hailing the release of the final silica rule yesterday, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez at times was apologetic, recounting stories about thousands of workers who died from inhaling silica.
“It shouldn't have taken this long,” Perez said, addressing an audience of labor representatives and businesses that support the new rule. “Today public policy is catching up with science.”
About 2.3 million workers are exposed to silica in workplaces, according to OSHA, and of those, about 940,000 are exposed to silica levels exceeding the new standard.
The new standard takes effect June 23. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is allowing industries up to five years to comply with the rule. The compliance deadline for construction is June 23, 2017, while the general industry and maritime deadline is June 23, 2018.
Bloomberg BNA reporter Bruce Rolfsen reports in "Final OSHA Silica Exposure Rule Issued."
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