Activists Call on President Obama to Protect Workers


February 7, 2013

Union members and public safety officials are calling on President Obama to finalize an Occupational Safety and Health Administration standard that would reduce workers’ exposure to silica and save lives.

About 1.7 million workers are exposed to cancer-causing silica dust each year. Prolonged exposure to the chemical, found in granite and sand, can cause lung cancer, silicosis and many other severe medical conditions.

Construction workers are most likely to suffer from silica exposure, which gets in the air through jackhammering, sandblasting or mixing concrete.

petition from the Laborers union on the White House Web site says:

For about 100 years workers, have been dying from exposure to silica on the job…The government has been talking about regulating exposures ever since the 1940s and sponsored a campaign to prevent silicosis in the 1990s. OSHA has drafted a proposal to reduce silica exposures in the workplace but it has been sitting at the White House for almost two years! It is about time to move forward and promulgate a silica standard to protect American workers.

Approximately 22,000 signatures are needed by Feb. 11 to reach the required 25,000 threshold to trigger a White House response.

Says International President Edwin D. Hill:

For our members, this is a life or death issue. OSHA has developed reasonable but tough guidelines that will save lives and the White House needs to move on it now.

Click here to add your name to the petition.


Photo used under a Creative Commons License from Flickr user Tom Lohdan