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Court tosses objections to OSHA rule

Workers in Georgia who are concerned about workplace safety may be interested in the recent ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit regarding the Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The court threw out industry challenges to the rule and asked the agency to explain why medical removal provisions were not included.

The rule cuts the amount of crystalline silica to which construction workers can be exposed to during an eight-hour work-shift to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, an exposure limit that is 20 percent of what was previously permissible. The revised allowed exposure limit is also the same for the general and maritime industries and represents 50 percent of what was the previous maximums.

According to the agency, the rule, which was released in March 2016, was created to safeguard over two million American workers who are exposed to silica. However, multiple industry groups, like the United States Chamber of Commerce, have objected to the rule for many reasons, including the lack of supporting evidence that verified OSHA's determination that reducing workers' exposure limit to the amount established by the rule cut the chances of workers being substantially impaired health-wise. There were also challenges regarding whether there was sufficient data that supported the agency's assertion that the rule was one that the hydraulic fracturing, foundry and constructions industries would find economically and technologically sound.

A personal injury attorney may advocate for clients who sustain injuries due to inadequate workplace safety. The clients may be assisted with claiming workers' compensation benefits and may be advised of whether a third-party lawsuit may be appropriate. The appropriate federal agencies, such as OSHA, may be advised of violations of federal safety regulations in the workplace.

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