LIUNA's 'We the People' Petition Demands Action on Silica Standard

About 22,000 signatures are still needed by Feb. 11 to reach the required 25,000 that will trigger a White House response.

The Laborers' International Union of North America, LIUNA, has submitted a "We the People" petition to the White House in an attempt to force the Obama administration to promulgate OSHA's proposed comprehensive standard on occupational silica exposure. Since February 2011, the standard has been undergoing an extended review by OIRA, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the Office of Management and Budget. OSHA has said it proposed it because the PELs for general industry, construction, and shipyards are outdated or based on obsolete particle counting technology.

According to LIUNA, about 1.7 million workers in the United States each year are exposed to silica dust and at risk of developing silicosis, lung cancer, and other debilitating diseases.According to LIUNA, about 1.7 million workers in the United States each year are exposed to silica dust and at risk of developing silicosis, lung cancer, and other debilitating diseases. "Any further delays in the rule-making process will only add to the death toll," Terry O'Sullivan, the union's president, has said. "The construction industry urgently needs stronger OSHA standards to prevent overexposure to silica dust. LIUNA and our supporters across the country will keep fighting for progress on this issue until a new safety standard is approved."

About 22,000 signatures are still needed by Feb. 11 to reach the required 25,000 that will trigger a White House response.

The text of the petition is: "For about 100 years workers have been dying from exposure to silica on the job. Silica can cause both lung disease (silicosis) and cancer. 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 OMB for almost 2 years! It is about time to move forward and promulgate a silica standard to protect American workers. Please sign this petition if you want to see action."

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