Bloomberg Law
Sept. 30, 2021, 6:00 PM

Labor Watchdog Faults OSHA for Decline in Silica Inspections

Bruce Rolfsen
Bruce Rolfsen

Workplace safety inspections to protect workers from toxic silica dust declined by 58% after OSHA canceled an inspection program in 2017, a new report by the Labor Department’s Office of Inspector General found.

The report concluded workers were endangered for the 27 months that lapsed between the silica emphasis program’s end in October 2017 and the initiation of a subsequent Occupational Safety and Health Administration program in February 2020.

Silica is a common mineral found in sand, rocks, and construction materials such as concrete, bricks, and stone tabletops. It becomes a health hazard when the dust produced by cutting, chipping, ...