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UMWA Applauds MSHA Initiative to Reduce Miner’s Exposure to Silica Dust



June 9, 2022 - United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) members yesterday at the UMWA 56th Consecutive Constitutional Convention strongly approved of the announcement of Chris Williamson, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health about the agency’s new enforcement initiative to reduce miner’s exposure to silica dust.

Coal Miners’ Pneumoconiosis or black lung cases are continuing to rise among coal miners and silica dust exposure has been proven to be the cause.

Coal seams have become deeper and thinner meaning miners are cutting through more waste rock which is high in silica. Silica exposure can also lead to progressive massive fibrosis, lung cancer, and silicosis.

“More than a hundred thousand coal miners have lost their lives to the effects of black lung and we have seen a significant rise in black lung cases among younger miners for several years now,” said International President Cecil E. Roberts.

“It is good to know that MSHA is stepping up enforcement of silica exposure as it prepares a new rule for controlling silica dust.

“We know what causes Black Lung and how to prevent this deadly disease from stealing the lives of our nation’s coal miners. We thank the Assistant Secretary for his leadership on behalf of miners.”