Earlier this month it was reported at ClaimsJournal.com that the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined a marble and granite company over $40,000 for health and safety violations that included workers being exposed to unsafe levels of crystalline silica particles.
According to an OSHA Fact Sheet on crystalline silica, “Silica exposure remains a serious threat to nearly 2 million U.S. workers, including more than 100,000 workers in high risk jobs such as abrasive blasting, foundry work, stonecutting, rock drilling, quarry work and tunneling. The seriousness of the health hazards associated with silica exposure is demonstrated by the fatalities and disabling illnesses that continue to occur in sandblasters and rock drillers. Breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal. The respirable silica dust enters the lungs and causes the formation of scar tissue, thus reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen. There is no cure for silicosis. Since silicosis affects lung function, it makes one more susceptible to lung infections like tuberculosis. In addition, smoking causes lung damage and adds to the damage caused by breathing silica dust.”
In April, OSHA is scheduled to review a proposed rule to lower the Permissible Exposure Limit, or PEL, for crystalline silica.
A leading Health & Safety consultant that provides testing services to respirable crystalline silica is Clark Seif Clark, Inc. “There are a variety of strategies to reduce workers and bystanders exposure to silica dust. A few examples include providing: administrative controls (i.e. training), engineering controls (i.e. wet-cutting), and personal protective equipment, or PPE, (i.e. respirators).” reported Derrick A. Denis, V.P. Indoor Environmental Quality at Clark Seif Clark. “However, the only way to determine if controls or PPE are effective in reducing exposure to silica is to conduct a personal exposure assessment and area monitoring. CSC is experienced in monitoring silica dust and other airborne workplace hazards.”
About Clark Seif Clark (CSC)
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both the public and private sectors address environmental health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.