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Worker Fatalities Can Be Reduced With Simple Silica Dust Signs -- By

Every year, over 1.7 million workers are exposed to silica dust, a common mineral found in sand and granite, which kills 250 workers from different industries. To curb these tragedies, has released new silica dust signs to empower workers and employers to implement simple and effective prevention.

Exposure to the dust can cause lung cancer or silicosis, an incurable and deadly lung disease. Legislation to lower silica levels has been stalled for years in the White House. In 2011, OSHA submitted an updated rule limiting exposure to crystalline silica to the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Two years later, the rule, which sources say will cut acceptable silica levels in half, remains delayed. Though workers in mining and construction companies are at the most risk for exposure, many manufacturers oppose the rule, likely due to the increased cost of implementing the tighter regulations, projected at more than $100 million.

These new signs help reinforce effective methods of silica prevention. The signs identify areas where breathable silica is present and their slogans promote simple ways of minimizing the harmful dust, like wet sweeping, hand washing, hosing down work areas, and leaving work clothes on site.

In a public letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which oversees OIRA, senior Congressional Democrats state: “Modernizing OSHA’s crystalline silica standard is a commonsense and necessary improvement to worker safety. Some states have already taken the lead—and demonstrated feasibility—by prohibiting dry cutting/grinding of masonry and cement, or requiring employers to use dust reduction systems. In many cases, protections are as basic as a water hose or spray. It is intolerable that workers are not benefiting from these protections due to roadblocks in the regulatory process.”

To view the signs, visit


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