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End the Delay in Needed Protections Against Silica Exposure; LIUNA Calls on Members, Public to Sign White House Petition

Experts estimate 280 workers die from silicosis each year

WASHINGTON, Jan. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- LIUNA – the Laborers' International Union of North America – today called on its half-million members and concerned citizens across America to sign a petition on the White House Web site appealing for immediate action to protect American workers from silica exposure on the job. 

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110428/DC91600LOGO)

Overexposure to silica causes an irreversible, progressive lung disease. It is also associated with lung cancer, chronic renal disease and autoimmune disorders.  An estimated 1.7 million U.S. workers are exposed to this serious hazard. Public health experts estimate that 280 workers die each year from silicosis and thousands more develop silicosis as a result of workplace exposures.

OSHA began working on new silica rules in 1997. A proposal was drafted and sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review in February 2011. Normally, OMB has 90 days to review proposals before they are made public. However, publication has been delayed for nearly two years. Releasing the proposal for publication is just the first step in a lengthy review process. OSHA rulemaking requires public hearings and extensive opportunities for public input. 

"I am encouraging our members and concerned citizens across America to sign the online petition," said Terry O'Sullivan, LIUNA General President. "Any further delays in the rulemaking process will only add to the death toll. 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."

The petition requires 25,000 signatures by February 11 to elicit a formal response from the White House. The petition can be found at http://wh.gov/E3Ta.

The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers' International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.

SOURCE Laborers' International Union of North America

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