Denver — A brand new Regional Emphasis Program from OSHA is aimed toward safeguarding staff within the minimize stone and stone merchandise manufacturing business from silica hazards.
Staff can breathe in silica mud whereas chopping, sawing, drilling or crushing supplies similar to rock and stone. Crystalline silica can injury tissue within the lungs and result in lung illness, continual obstructive pulmonary illness or incurable silicosis. OSHA estimates that 2.3 million staff are uncovered to silica mud yearly.
Set to enter impact Might 17, the REP applies to employers in OSHA’s Region 8 – which covers Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. This system will concentrate on getting employers within the business to observe required security requirements and alert staff to silica hazards. As well as, the REP will tackle struck-by and crushing hazards related to the dealing with of granite, marble, limestone, slate and different stone slabs.
“Prior to now 10 years, the minimize stone and stone merchandise manufacturing business has had the very best documented overexposures to respirable crystalline silica within the area,” OSHA says in a press launch, including that 30% of the overexposures in Area 8 had been within the minimize stone and stone merchandise business.
The company says it’s going to attain out to help business employers and worker teams earlier than Might 17.
“This Regional Emphasis Program on silica addresses severe well being and security hazards and enhances our concentrate on guaranteeing that business employers adjust to OSHA necessities,” Jennifer Rous, OSHA’s Area 8 administrator, mentioned within the launch. “Inhaling elevated ranges of respirable crystalline silica with out correct safety will increase the chance of contracting a number of illnesses, together with silicosis, an incurable lung illness that may result in disabling or deadly accidents.”
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report printed in September 2019 warned of “an rising public well being menace” after researchers recognized a rise in circumstances of silicosis amongst staff who deal with engineered stone designed primarily for family counter tops.
The subsequent month, Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chair of the Home Schooling and Labor Committee, and Alma Adams (D-NC), chair of the Home Workforce Protections Subcommittee, sent a letter to then-Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia, urging OSHA to launch a Nationwide Emphasis Program for stone fabrication institutions.