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Should your employer be protecting you from silica dust?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2020 | Workplace Injuries

Some jobs come with certain risks, including the risk of exposure to toxic materials. In high-risk occupations, it is especially important for employers to protect the interests of their workers by providing a reasonably safe environment. Depending on the type of job you have and where you work, one of the things your Ohio employer should be doing is protecting you from silica dust exposure.

Estimates suggest that as many as two million workers face exposure to silica dust every year. This means that two million people could be facing a higher risk of developing an illness that could have significant and long-term impacts on their lives. Thankfully, there are steps businesses can take to ensure that workers don’t experience unnecessary exposure.

Preventative measures

Silica dust exposure is dangerous, and it can be quite hazardous for workers who inhale even a small amount of these particles. To lower the chance of inhalation and toxic exposure, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has put the following regulations in place for employers:

  • Limit tasks that will likely result in exposure. If possible, there should be the implementation of alternate methods.
  • Workers should receive adequate training on how to do their jobs safely while limiting exposure to silica.
  • For workers who face exposure, employers must provide medical exams every three years.
  • Employers have to keep detailed records of health exams and other information pertaining to silica exposure.

Failure to do these things can result in expensive fines and penalties from OSHA, as well as a higher chance a worker will contract an illness related to silica.

The dangers of silica

Silica exposure is dangerous because it leads to a higher chance that people who breathe in these particles will become ill. These toxic particles can cause lung disease, liver disease and kidney problems. Extensive and long-term exposure can also lead to the development of certain types of cancers. Both employers and workers should take this seriously.

What if you become ill?

If you become sick as a result of your job, there is support available to you. Through a workers’ compensation claim, you can get help with things such as your medical bills and a portion of your lost wages. These claims can be complex, and many ill and injured workers find it beneficial to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at every step of this process.