Labor Department Finalizes Silica Dust Protections for Miners

The rule lowers the permissible exposure limit and implements an overexposure protocol.

The Department of Labor finalized a rule protecting miners from silica dust exposure this month, lowering the legal exposure limit and strengthening protocol to curb overexposure. 

The fine particle dust of crystalline silica is a known carcinogen and can become the cause of lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, kidney disease, and other illnesses. These new policies establish a maximum exposure of 50 micrograms per cubic meter for an 8-hour shift, requiring mining companies to regularly measure both the surrounding air and soil to curb unnecessary dust exposure.

“It is unconscionable that our nation’s miners have worked without adequate protection from silica dust despite it being a known health hazard for decades,” said Acting Secretary Julie Su. “Today, the Department of Labor has taken an important action to finally reduce miners’ exposure to toxic silica dust and protect them from suffering from preventable diseases.”

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For discernment for Acting Secretary Su and Labor Department officials as they seek to ensure the health and well-being of miners.
  • For Assistant Secretary Douglas Parker as he heads the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
  • For Assistant Secretary Christopher Wilson as he oversees the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Sources: Department of Labor


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