Silica dust has been classified as a carcinogen since 2000, meaning it is a known cause of lung cancer. Exposure to silica dust can also lead to silicosis, a degenerative lung disease that can lay dormant for years before showing symptoms.
Symptoms like constant chest pain, fatigue, severe shortness of breath and heart disease can all be indicators of silicosis. Proper respiratory protection can protect foundry workers, miners and glass manufacturers from serious health risks.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Piqua Champion Foundry Inc. for exposing nine workers to dangerous levels of silica dust while grinding castings and relining a furnace. OSHA’s investigation turned up 20 repeat and serious violations carrying proposed penalties of $57,140.
Most of the citations were for failing to meet OSHA’s respiratory standards. Piqua did not provide medical evaluations for employees using respirators or monitor the carbon dioxide levels of supplied breathing air.
During its inspection, OSHA found that the foundry company exposed workers to silica dust for longer than the permitted exposure limit and improperly maintained respirator filters. In addition to silicosis, the company’s failings put workers at risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and kidney problems.
Dangers of Silica Dust Exposure
Silica dust is a common workplace hazard, but some companies still refuse to protect their workers. Their actions may help them save money, but their negligence could permanently damage their workers’ health.
At Larrimer & Larrimer, we fight for every employee’s right to work safely. If workplace hazards caused your illness or injury, call us today for a free consultation. Learning more about your rights could make a crucial difference in your workers’ comp claim.
[Did You Know:
OSHA has proposed a new rule to lower workers’ exposure to silica dust. The rule could save up to 700 lives.]
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC
—Columbus Workers Comp Attorneys