Over two million American workers are exposed to crystalline silica in the workplace, putting them at risk for lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease.
Employees working in construction make up most of those exposed, while workers in general industries such as brick manufacturing, foundries, and hydraulic factories represent several hundred thousand.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued rules to reduce the number of injured workers, which many believe will save over 600 lives and prevent nearly 1000 cases of silicosis annually.
The provisions include reductions on permissible exposure; requires employers to use engineering controls such as water and ventilation; the use of respirators in lieu of adequate engineering controls; medical exams and information for at risk workers; and plans in place to control exposure.
Construction industries are required to comply with the standards by June of 2017 and general industries and maritime will have to be on board by June of 2018. With the exception of engineering controls that are pushed out to 2021, hydraulic fracturing industries will have to comply with all other standards by 2018 also.
If you or a family member has been injured by exposure to crystalline silica on the job, contact the Law Offices of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC for help. We can represent you for workers’ compensation and can pursue a personal injury claim if your employer’s negligence resulted in your injury.