Mar 2019

Attorneys Discuss the Damaging Impact of Crystalline Silica Exposure

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorneyCrystalline silica is a major component of soil, sand, and granite, as well as other materials that construction crews work with daily. It is a known human lung carcinogen, which means exposure to it could cause lung cancer.

It can also cause silicosis, a condition which can yield debilitating symptoms or even death. Some symptoms of silicosis include shortness of breath when exercising, fatigue, chest pain or other respiratory issues. Silicosis is a chronic disease that can appear even decades after exposure.

Who is the most at risk?

In order to determine the magnitude of the exposure to crystalline silica among construction crews, The Department of Public Health along with the University of Massachusetts in Lowell sent a team of researchers out to collect “personal breathing-zone samples,” as well as “area samples” from demolition sites and bridge repair sites.

They found that construction workers who were chipping off concrete on the substructures of bridges were inhaling the highest concentrations of crystalline silica, at an average of 527 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations state that any concentration above 50 micrograms could have devastating health consequences. That means at this single site, workers were inhaling ten times the required limit put forth by OSHA.

Of the samples gathered, those from other laborers and engineers had the lowest level of exposure at only 17 micrograms per cubic meter. The researchers also found that, even with the use of masks and other respiratory protectors, exposure was still an issue.

You’ve given us your best. Let us do the same

Our construction workers are a vital part of our economy. They brave all manner of extreme weather and hazardous road conditions every day. They sacrifice so much to provide us with sturdy roads, houses and businesses. Their dignified work should not come at the cost of their health.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, our team fights for construction workers and all others who have been injured on the job. We believe that a successful case starts with building a strong, trusting relationship with our clients. From your first call to your last court date and beyond, we work tirelessly to get you the care and compensation you so rightly deserve. If you were injured at a job site, don’t wait. Contact us. We’ll take care of the rest.

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