The AFL-CIO says federal regulators need to pay more attention to workplace health and safety in the shale gas industry. The union sent a letter on Tuesday to worker safety officials asking their agencies to protect workers from dangerous work conditions. The letter focuses on crystalline silica, or sand, which is used as part of the fracking process.
The letter was sent to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration. It was signed by the leaders of the AFL-CIO, United Steelworkers, and the United Mine Workers of America. The letter sites the NIOSH study, which also warns against worker exposure to diesel particulates, airborne aldehydes and hydrogen sulfides. The letter says that according to NIOSH, the workplace fatality rate among oil and gas workers is 27.5 deaths per 100,000 workers.