This afternoon, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that it was sending its final version of a long-awaited rule on silica dust in the workplace to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for final review. CPR Executive Director Matthew Shudtz responded to the news with the following statement:
Workers across the United States have been waiting for this day for a long time. But don’t overlook the fact that this announcement simply marks a procedural accomplishment in a decades-long administrative process. This rule has been to OIRA before, and the last time it sat with the White House bean counters for two and a half years. By Executive Order, this review should be complete in a matter of weeks. That’s what millions of silica-exposed workers expect and what the White House needs to deliver.
We won’t know the full details of what’s in the final rule until the White House approves it for publication. Regardless, the most important thing to focus on now is what OSHA and its state-plan partners do next. Strong enforcement of the new rules is the only way to ensure that workers benefit from their requirements. OSHA is primarily an enforcement agency after all, so now it’s time for the agency to do what it does best.