- Mining (especially frac sand)
- Glass manufacturing
- Setting and laying railroad track.
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), nearly 2 million workers in the U.S. are at risk of silica exposure, and more than 100,000 of those workers are in high-risk jobs.While intense exposure to crystalline silica can cause silicosis within a year, it usually takes at least 10-15 years of exposure before any symptoms occur. Both OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have regulations requiring employers to keep worker exposures at or below a Permissible Exposure Level (PEL) during a full work shift. Yet many companies do not adequately protect their workers against the dangers of silica dust. Furthermore, there is no federal air quality standard for silica outside the workplace, leaving residents near mines, foundries and construction sites at risk, especially children, older adults and those who have respiratory diseases. Silicosis has been known by many other names — miner’s phthisis, potter’s asthma, grinder’s rot, stonecutter’s disease — depending upon what job is involved. Given the large number of quarries here in Georgia, many of those infected with silicosis are stonecutters. Along with wearing properly fitting respirator masks, OSHA recommends that stonecutters use wet-cutting methods to keep dust down. When that’s not possible, air vacuum systems and exhaust fans should be used. Workers who have developed lung disease, lung cancer or tuberculosis may have legal grounds to file a silicosis lawsuit against their employer. If you have questions about silicosis or other health problems that could be due to breathing silica particles, contact the Mann Law Firm at (478) 742-3381 or use this convenient online contact form.