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Proposed rule on silica on the agenda for upcoming MSHA meetings

Photo: Ron Levine/iStockphoto

Washington — The Mine Safety and Health Administration has scheduled public meetings on its recently published proposed rule on worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

The meetings are slated to take place Aug. 10 at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy in Beckley, WV; and Aug. 21 at the Denver Federal Center in Colorado.

Attendees also can attend virtually. Links are available on MSHA’s silica rulemaking webpage. Anyone interested in speaking during the meetings may register in advance but isn’t required to do so.

Workers can inhale silica dust during operations including mining, cutting, sawing, drilling, or crushing materials such as rock and stone. Crystalline silica can damage lung tissue and lead to black lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or incurable silicosis.

On July 13, MSHA published a proposal that would lower the permissible exposure limit for silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air over an 8-hour time-weighted average. That’s half the previous limit and identical to an OSHA PEL established in 2016.

The deadline to comment on the proposed rule is Aug. 28.

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