Posted in 'DOL'

Dr. Robert Harrison, U.S. Department of Labor Blog

When I learned about the dangers of silica dust in medical school in the 1970s, at the beginning of my career in occupational medicine, I thought silica dust was only of historical interest, or a hazard for just a few especially vulnerable workers with unscrupulous employers. Unfortunately, after treating many workers with occupational lung diseases for the past 30 years, I have learned that the hazards of yesterday are still the hazards of today – but they are entirely preventable going forward if employers comply with the straightforward standards OSHA has now established to protect workers’ health.

Silica dust ranks with asbestos and coal as one of the most damaging lung particles that workers can breathe on the job, but it is also entirely possible to prevent exposure to it. Tiny bits of silica dust can lodge themselves deep in the lungs and cause permanent scarring − sometimes very rapidly, but usually over many years. Silica dust is also a known lung carcinogen, and can damage the immune system and the kidneys. ... more

Posted In: DOL

Alan White, U.S. Department of Labor Blog

When I started working at the foundry about 20 years ago, it was supposed to be my big break. I was a single parent on public assistance and was desperate for the dignity of work and a steady income to support my family. Instead of a lifeline, unfortunately, my new job led to a life-altering illness.

I now battle every day with a debilitating lung disease that I contracted by just showing up and doing my job in Buffalo, New York. Although I didn’t know about silica or the dangers of breathing it when I started, I am now certain that anyone breathing silica dust on a regular basis is taking a chance with their lungs and their lives. ... read more and listen to “The Human Cost of Silicosis: Secretary Tom Perez and Alan White"

Posted In: DOL

From the U.S. Department of Labor:

The Secretary of Labor has recently established the Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health for Part E of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) program. The Department of Labor's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) and EEOICPA program provide compensation and medical benefits to nuclear weapons workers who were diagnosed with medical conditions related to exposure to toxic substances at covered nuclear facilities. The Advisory Board is mandated by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015, which amended the EEOICPA to include Section 3687, creating the Advisory Board. By Executive Order 13699 of June 26, 2015, the President delegated responsibility to establish and maintain the Advisory Board to the Secretary of Labor. The Board reports to the Secretary of Labor. ... more

Posted In: DOL

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