• Sat. May 18th, 2024

Biden takes tough action against silica dust, a major health risk in mining industries

BySamantha Johnson

Apr 16, 2024
Biden takes tough action against silica dust, a major health risk in mining industries

The Biden administration has introduced a final mining rule that imposes federal limits on silica dust, a dangerous carcinogen that poses a threat to miners across various industries. This regulation, released by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, aims to restrict the amount of silica dust that workers can breathe in while on the job. Currently, the restrictions on silica exposure are linked to the agency’s coal dust limits, highlighting the importance of protecting miners from this harmful substance.

Silica dust is made up of tiny crystals that can penetrate deep into the lungs of those exposed to it. This dust is typically created when equipment cuts and grinds rock to access valuable ores or coal seams. Long-term exposure to silica dust can result in severe and incurable diseases such as lung cancer, silicosis, as well as respiratory and kidney issues. When combined with coal mine dust, silica exposure can even lead to black lung disease, further emphasizing the need for protective measures in mining operations.

Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su expressed concern over the lack of protection for miners against silica dust, labeling it as “unconscionable” given its well-known health risks. The final rule not only establishes exposure limits but also mandates mine operators to utilize engineering controls to prevent overexposure and to monitor exposure levels through dust sampling and environmental assessments.

Coal mine operators will have one year to comply with the new rule once it is published, while operators of metal and nonmetal mines will have a two-year grace period. This timeline allows mining companies to make the necessary adjustments and investments to ensure the health and safety of their workers in light of the updated regulations.

By Samantha Johnson

As a content writer at newszkz.com, I delve into the realms of storytelling, blending words to paint vivid narratives that captivate and inform our readers. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for research, I craft compelling articles that resonate with our audience. My love for words drives me to explore diverse topics, ensuring that each piece I create not only educates but also entertains. Join me on this journey as we navigate the ever-evolving landscapes of news and knowledge together.

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