AFL-CIO alerts worker safety bureaus to silica exposure at fracking sites

By Michael Tremoglie and Chris Dickerson | May 29, 2012


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – The AFL-CIO has put federal bureaus responsible for worker safety on alert regarding silica exposure at hydraulic fracturing sites.

In a letter dated May 22, the labor organization requested that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MHSA) begin to work with the industry to implement policies and procedures.

The letter was in reaction to a NIOSH study that determined a hazard existed for fracking workers. The report said that NIOSH "concluded that an inhalation health hazard existed for workers exposed to crystalline silica at the evaluated hydraulic fracturing sites."

NIOSH said it notified company representatives of the findings and provided reports with recommendations to control exposure.

Specifically, NIOSH recommended that "all hydraulic fracturing sites evaluate their operations to determine the potential for worker exposure to crystalline silica and implement controls as necessary to protect workers."

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