Silica Overexposures Among Stone Workers
A new Regional Emphasis Program (REP) developed by OSHA is intended to identify and reduce respirable crystalline silica hazards in the cut stone and stone products industry in OSHA Region 8, which comprises the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. According to the agency, this industry has had the highest documented overexposures to respirable crystalline silica in the region in recent years. Enforcement related to the REP began in May. The following information on silica over-exposures among stone workers was selected from sources published by OSHA and CDC.
From the OSHA Regional Instruction “Regional Emphasis Program on Silica in Cut Stone and Slab Handling”: “[S]ilica exposure during the fabrication of artificial stone countertops is an emerging hazard that has been associated with several recent outbreaks of severe accelerated silicosis in young workers in the U.S.”
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CDC: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, “Severe Silicosis in Engineered Stone Fabrication Workers — California, Colorado, Texas, and Washington, 2017–2019” (September 2019).
OSHA: “U.S. Department of Labor Emphasis Program Seeks to Identify, Reduce Silica Dust Hazards in Denver’s Cut Stone, Stone Products Industry” (April 2022).
OSHA Regional Instruction: “Regional Emphasis Program on Silica in Cut Stone and Slab Handling” (PDF, February 2022).
RELATED The Synergist: “Silicosis Among Stoneworkers in Queensland, Australia” (April 2019).