On September 11, 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that a notice of proposed rulemaking for respirable crystalline silica was published in the Federal Register. Now, the public — most importantly those in masonry and other construction industries —  has a chance to comment.

In a nutshell, OSHA has proposed new, more stringent standards for work-related exposure to respirable crystalline silica The comment period ends Dec. 11, 2013. Before you share your thoughts, here's what others —  experts, government officials, and industry trade groups — have said about it.

Experts

"Predictably, several trade associations have already expressed opposition to OSHA’s silica proposal. They list a slew of reasons why this worker safety regulation is not necessary. One argument is that workers would be adequately protected if the agency simply enforced the silica rule that is already on the books. Just a moment’s thought about that idea and one sees how ludicrous it is." — Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH, George Washington University School of Public Health & Health Services 

"The proposed OSHA rulemaking is long overdue, but upon reading, it is clear that the proposal doesn't quite go far enough. For example, there was an expectation that OSHA would require employers to develop and implement written exposure control plans for construction sites. Sadly, such language is nowhere in the document." — Keith Wrightson, workplace safety expert for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch

Public Officials

"[Doing what is right for the country] includes our effort that is underway at OSHA to protect workers from the crystalline silica particles.” — Senior Advisor to the President of the United States Valerie Jarrett

“Every year, exposed workers not only lose their ability to work, but also to breathe. This proposal is expected to prevent thousands of deaths from silicosis.” — Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels

Industry Trade Groups

"The masonry industry urges Congress to ensure that OSHA's regulatory focus is not swayed by bad science on the matter of workplace exposure to crystalline silica." — Mason Contractors Association of America

"On behalf of its more than 140,000 members, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) respectfully requests a ninety (90) day extension of the current deadline for submitting written comments, providing a notice of intention to appear at the informal public hearing, and submitting hearing testimony and documentary evidence in response to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica that was published in the Federal Register on September 12, 2013 (78 Fed. Reg. 56274-56504) (Silica NPRM)." — Rick, Judson, chairman of the board; National Association of Home Builders

Judson's comment was officially submitted through the Federal Register, along with other trade groups, industry professionals and private citizens. Submit your comment here.