Silica Hazards in Mining and Construction: Reducing Exposures and Preventing Disease

December 11-12, 2009, New Delhi, India

Union Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr. H Rawat, and other speakers including Salma Burton of the World Health Organization, Perry Gottesfeld of OK International, and David Rees of the National Institute of Occupational Health South Africa participate in the lamp lighting ceremony.

OK International, in partnership with the Public Health Foundation of India, organized an international conference on “Silica Hazards in Mining and Construction: Reducing Exposures and Preventing Disease” to raise awareness among key stakeholders and formulate policy recommendations to reduce silica emissions. Conference attendees included representatives from National and State level government, public health experts, multi-lateral aid agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), trade associations, and silicosis victims. The meeting resulted in a call for a national plan to identify and compensate silicosis victims and address silica hazards throughout India.

Silicosis victims address the conference.

Specific outcomes of the conference included:

  • A list of policy recommendations to promote the use of dust-control technologies and other means to reduce silica-related disease in India.

  • Increased awareness among Indian NGOs, health professionals, government, trade associations, and others of the need to encourage a multi-sector approach to reduce silica exposures to prevent silica-related diseases.

  • The formation of an executive committee to encourage the implementation of conference recommendations and track future progress.

The conference provided an important forum to initiate positive change that will benefit workers, their families, and communities.

Dr. S. Pingle of the Indian Association of Occupational Health speaks on the role of the medical association in detecting and reporting silicosis.

A summary of the formal presentations and discussions at the “Silica Hazards in Mining and Construction” conference are available here.

See an article covering the conference in Civil Society's January 2010 edition here.