OSHA began holding public hearings on March 18, 2014 for the notice of proposed rulemaking on occupational exposure to crystalline silica, marking beginning of three weeks of public comment on the proposal. Hearings are scheduled through Friday, April 4.
"We look forward to receiving feedback from our stakeholders on our proposal, and we're grateful for the continuing high level of public engagement throughout the rulemaking," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "This is an open process and the input we receive will help us ensure that a final rule adequately protects workers, is feasible for employers, and is based on the best available evidence."
OSHA's proposed rule seeks to lower worker exposure to crystalline silica, which causes silicosis, an incurable lung disease. Organizations, including the American Cancer Society, have also confirmed the causal relationship between silica and lung cancer. OSHA says its proposal is based on review of scientific and technical evidence, consideration of current industry consensus standards and consultation with stakeholders.
Members of the public may attend the sessions to listen to testimony from OSHA and other hearing participants. Members of the public who filed a timely written notice of intention to appear can also ask questions of agency officials and other witnesses during the hearing. Following the hearings, OSHA will publish a transcript of the hearings and make it available to the public in the rulemaking docket, and hearing participants will have an opportunity to submit additional evidence and comments.
Published in the Federal Register on Sept. 12, 2013, OSHA's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica aims to update the permissible exposure limits for crystalline silica in general industry, construction and shipyards, as well as to establish other provisions for worker protection.