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UMWA/USW Letter to MSHA on Respirable Crystalline Silica

Posted By Mark Ellis, Friday, July 12, 2019

Please find below a hyperlink to a letter recently sent to Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health David Zatezalo, essentially amounting to a request for rulemaking on respirable crystalline silica.  The joint letter was sent by Cecil Roberts, President of the United Mine Workers of America, and Leo Gerard, President of the United Steel Workers.  The letter begins with an extensive review of reports of increased incidence of progressive massive fibrosis in underground coal miners, an advanced and irreversible form of silicosis.  It also explores an increased incidence of silica-related disease in other mining sectors.  Among the requests to MSHA made in the letter:

·         Lower the allowable concentration limit of silica;

·         Require the use of NIOSH’s new end-of-shift silica sampler;

·         Sample more miners;

·         Address high silica cutting situations; and

·         Work closely with the medical community.

The five-page letter closes by stating that the time for action is now.  The unions also expressed their willingness to work with other stakeholders to protect our nation’s miners from these debilitating and deadly diseases.

Whether or how Assistant Secretary Zatezalo intends to respond to the letter is yet to be seen, but we anticipate that these issues will be broached in the anticipated Request for Information MSHA intends to issue on respirable crystalline silica, or in the responses to it



Tags:  Respirable Crystalline Silica  RFI  UMWA  USW 

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