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OSHA Seeks to Protect Workers from Crystalline Silica

by | Oct 7, 2013 | Workers' Compensation

Crystalline Silica is a particle that puts workers at risk for lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney disease and silicosis. The OSHA is encouraging construction companies to reduce the exposure to silica each and every year, which will then protect thousands from death as a result of silicosis. Silicosis is a progressive and incurable disease that can often occur in workers who constantly inhale the particles.

Workers are normally exposed to the harmful substance because they do not have the proper engineering controls put in place. Stone, rock, concrete, brick, and block are all materials that contain crystalline silica. Typically workers are required to cut through these strong materials with power saws. Merely dipping the power saw into water prior to cutting can significantly reduce the amount of respirable crystalline silica that flies into the air.

Essentially, crystalline silica is a very small particle that comes off of a hard surface. It is about 100 times smaller than ordinary sand that may be found on a beach. Normally individuals are exposed to the particles when sanding, sawing, grinding, drilling, or crushing rock-type materials. Workers who use sandblasting, or take part in hydraulic fracturing operations are also at risk to lung cancer or silicosis from this material.

If you have been exposed to crystalline silica, then you need to contact a lawyer promptly. OSHA believes that they can prevent about 1,600 new cases of silicosis by enforcing prevention at construction sites, granite quarries, hydraulic fracturing sites, and other places where workers are exposed to this dangerous hazard. The government has been working to reduce silicosis for years, as is evidenced by advertisements from 1938 regarding the dangerous illness. Call a New York workers’ compensation lawyer at Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman today if you want to learn more about silicosis lawsuits.