AIHA Testifies on OSHA’s Proposed Silica Standard at March 21 Public Hearing in Washington, DC

Release No. SPR-14-0321-01
Nicole Racadag, AIHA Communications
(703) 846-0700; 
FALLS CHURCH, Va. (March 21, 2014) —  Today, the American Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA) testified on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) proposed rule on occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica. OSHA began three weeks of public hearings on its proposed rulemaking in Washington, D.C., on March 18. 
“Ultimately, the question is, ‘will this proposal result in improved employee health and safety?’ AIHA answers a resounding ‘yes,’ and supports OSHA’s efforts to move forward with the proposed rule that helps to protect worker health and reduce illnesses related to silica exposures,” said AIHA Vice President Daniel H. Anna, PhD, CIH, CSP, who testified on behalf of the Association. 
In his testimony, Anna summarized comments on several aspects of the proposed regulation that AIHA submitted to the federal docket in February. AIHA’s comments state that in order to properly protect workers, the proposed permissible exposure limit (PEL) for silica should be based on scientific evidence and health effects as established by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) documents, which conclude that the current PEL is inadequate.
OSHA’s proposed rule, published in September 2013, would set new PEL for respirable crystalline silica by reducing the PEL to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air calculated as an eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA), down from about 100 micrograms for general industry and 250 micrograms for construction and shipyards. 
Hundreds of comments for and against those proposed changes have been submitted to the rulemaking docket.
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About AIHA
Founded in 1939, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) is the premier association of occupational and environmental health and safety professionals. AIHA’s 10,000 members play a crucial role on the front line of worker health and safety every day. Members represent a cross-section of industry, private business, labor, government and academia. AIHA will celebrate 75 years of protecting worker health and serving the industrial hygiene community at AIHce 2014, the premier event for IH and OEHS professionals.