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USWU members participate in workplace safety hearing

05.26.14

APRIL 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

USWU members participate in workplace safety hearing

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 31st- The United Steelworkers (USW) Union provided testimony at the public hearing held in Washington DC by the United States Department of Labor (DOL) regarding the proposed standard to protect workers from silica exposure. The hearing was conducted by the DOL’s, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) during March 18th to April 4th.

The proposed rule would cut permitted dust exposure in half from current levels; require exposure monitoring; and have medical exams for implementation of dust control methods. The new standard would effect more than two million workers exposed to the deadly silica dust.

According to the USW, silica dust is a killer. It causes silicosis, a disabling lung disease that literally suffocates workers to death. It also causes lung cancer, respiratory and kidney diseases.

The USW members that testified included Mike Wright, the Unions Director of Health, Safety and Environment Department in Pittsburgh.

Also, Tim Tuttle, USW Glass Industry Council of Pittsburgh; John Scardella, Program Administrator; and Tom Mazzocchi, Center for Worker Health and Safety Education, in Pittsburgh provided testimony and the DOL hearing.

Silica exposure occurs daily while employees work where respirable crystalline occurs. USW and other workers are exposed to silica in foundries, glass making, refractory manufacturing and in shipyards.

The hearings were conducted in the Cesar Chavez Auditorium at the United States Department of Labor building on Constitution Avenue in Washington DC.

The USW is the largest private-sector labor union in North America representing 850,000 workers employed in many industries.