(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pictures say a thousand words: OSHA Silica Hearings week #3

The photos rolled across the screen. Photos of  construction workers tuck-pointing the cement grout on a building, sawing brick, jack hammering a sidewalk, sanding drywall. Each photo, showing workers in clouds of dust, illustrated the multitude of ways they are exposed, and why they are at risk of silica-related diseases.  

The scrolling photo exhibit was the backdrop for testimony provided by representatives of the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America (LHSFNA) on the final day of OSHA’s public hearing on its proposed silica regulation. The LHSFNA is a joint labor-management trust fund affiliated with the Laborers’ International Union of North America. The fund was created 26 years ago to help signatory contractors improve health and safety practices at their construction sites.

Associate director of the LHSFN, Walter Jones, offered his organization’s reaction to testimony provided by other witnesses in the previous 14 days of the proceedings. Specifically, he commented on the recommendations that OSHA revise its proposal to simply require employers to provide respirators to workers, rather than expecting them to control silica dust at its source. Jones remarked:

“The proposal is a technology -forcing standard without which we would be stuck listening to the flat-earthers tell us that the hierarchy of controls is outdated and the future of worker health is with respirators.”

“Our brothers and sisters on the...

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