Worker safety experts are sounding the alarm over a popular type of quartz countertop, warning that workers who handle the processed quartz are at a high risk of silicosis due to the composition of the material. The material is called engineered stone and is made up of more than 90% silica. That is twice the level of typical granite. Silicosis, is a dangerous disease that can lead to respiratory problems, cancer, kidney disease, and sadly, sometimes death.
Silica has been in the news recently; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently changed rules to reduce the allowable level of exposure any worker can have to silica. According to OSHA, countertop makers and workers may be exposed to silica during the manufacturing process, the finishing process, and during installation. During the manufacturing process silica dust can be released into the air when handling raw materials, including crushed quartz, mixing, and cleaning. During finishing and installation, silica dust is released during chipping, contouring, cutting, drilling edging, grinding, polishing, and/or sanding of the engineered stone product.
It is the responsibility of manufacturers and the company owners to ensure that proper safety measures are in place. The most effective way to reduce airborne silica dust is through the use of vacuums and wet surfaces. Vacuums capture the silica dust before it can be breathed in and wet surfaces reduce the amount of silica released into the air. See the OSHA hazard alert.
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Have you or a loved been diagnosed with silicosis and have worked with products containing silica such as quartz countertops? Contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker today at (800) 333-0000 for a free consultation. We partner with a law firm that has experienced workers’ compensation attorneys that are dedicated to supporting injured workers. We are here to help when you need us.