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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has again extended the public comment period on proposed updates to standards on worker exposure to crystalline silica.
The new deadline for public comment is now February 11, 2014. However, the March 18 date for the beginning of public hearings on the proposed changes has not been changed.
This is the second extension issued for public comment on the proposed rule. The first came after several public requests for more time. This second extension comes in response to confusion caused by a bug with the regulations.gov website.
To submit a comment visit www.regulations.gov and click on the “COMMENT NOW” button next to the title “Occupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica; Extension of Comment Period”.
Workers involved in the cutting, sawing, drilling and crushing of concrete, brick, block and other stone products are exposed to the dust. Exposure can cause the condition silicosis, an inflammation and scarring of the lungs, as well as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease. The agency says the updated rules could save 700 lives each year.
The standards currently in place are more than 40 years old and exposure to the substance, composed of small particles about 100 times smaller than grains of sand, kills hundreds of workers each year and sickens thousands more.