Regulators announced a rule to increase workplace protections against exposure to crystalline silica, a carcinogenic dust found in construction, foundries and fracking, NBC News reported.
Issued Thursday by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the rule — which takes effect immediately — lowers the exposure limit for silica dust to 50 grams per cubic meter of air. The rule also requires employers to monitor for silica in the workplace, use methods to reduce exposure and provide medical exams to workers.
Some groups have vowed to fight the rule in court and in Congress. They say it's unnecessary and warn that compliance will come at a hefty price.
OSHA said 2.3 million American workers are exposed to silica dust, and that the rule would save about 600 lives and prevent 900 cases of silica-related illnesses annually.