United Mine Workers of America Hosts Department of Labor Silica Rule Kickoff Event


APRIL 16, 2024


United Mine Workers of America Hosts Department of Labor Silica Rule Kickoff Event

[TRIANGLE, VA] – The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) hosted a Department of Labor Silica Rule Kickoff Event to celebrate the finalization of the new Silica Dust Exposure Rule. The event aimed to raise awareness about the importance of the rule in protecting the health and safety of miners across the nation.

Speaking at the event were UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts, Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su, Assistant Secretary of the Mine Health and Safety Administration Chris Williamson, NIOSH Director of Respiratory Health Division David Weissman, President of the Black Lung Association Gary Harrison, as well as members of the United Mine Workers of America and United Steelworkers.

The new silica rule significantly reduces respirable crystalline silica exposures and improves the early detection of related diseases. It also includes updates to the respiratory protection standard, ensuring that miners are adequately protected from the harmful effects of silica dust.

“The UMWA has been advocating for this rule for many years, so we are glad that the Agency has created a rule to address the rise in silica-related lung diseases in our nation’s miners (both coal and metal non-metal),” said Roberts. “Young miners in their 30s and 40s are getting lung diseases that are being exacerbated by silica dust. What was thought to be a disease of the past is coming back with a vengeance because miners are cutting more rock than ever before.  

“This is a critical step to keeping miners safe and healthy not just day to day, but for their full lifetime,” Roberts said. “Now, our focus shifts to holding mining companies accountable. Together with our labor partners, UMWA remains steadfast in our efforts to ensure strict adherence to the new legislation within the industry.”