The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced an enforcement and compliance initiative directed at the engineered stone industry.
OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recognize that silica dust exposure is a health hazard for workers in manufacturing, finishing, and installing natural and engineered/manufactured stone.
The new initiative will direct its focus to employers to ensure they comply with required safety standards and provide workers with the protections to keep them safe. It establishes agency procedures for prioritizing OSHA inspections to ensure prompt abatement of silica dust hazards.
Respiratory health researchers released a study this summer that looked at 52 male patients diagnosed with silicosis caused by engineered stone. Of the 52 patients, 20 suffered progressive massive fibrosis, 11 needed lung transplants, and 10 died because of their silica dust exposures.
Silicosis is an incurable and sometimes fatal lung disease. Silica dust can also lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or kidney disease.