NSC Construction and Utilities Division news NSC Labor Division news Silica State programs Hazard communication Workplace exposures Respiratory conditions Manufacturing

Cal/OSHA campaign aimed at protecting stone workers from silica exposure


Photo: Cal/OSHA

Sacramento, CA — The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health recently launched a campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of silica dust in the engineered stone industry.

“Since 2019, more than 100 California stone workers have developed silicosis, with at least 10 deaths among workers under the age of 40,” a Cal/OSHA press release states. “[The Department of Industrial Relations] and Cal/OSHA are reducing the risk of silicosis through advocacy, education and enforcement.”

In December, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board approved an emergency temporary standard on silica hazards for workers who handle engineered stone. Now, DIR and Cal/OSHA have published a website with information for workers and employers to help prevent silicosis – an incurable lung disease caused by silica exposure. Topics include:

  • Safe work practices
  • Respiratory protection
  • Training and communication
  • Exposure assessment
  • Imminent hazards
  • Silicosis reporting

“The startling uptick in deadly silicosis cases in our state underscores the necessity to protect workers from this fatal disease,” DIR Director Katie Hagen said in the release. “Man-made stone products with high silica content, like countertops, can only be fabricated safely with proper safety equipment and practices, such as water systems, safe cleaning of dust and debris, and the use of the best respiratory protection available. Failure to follow these lifesaving practices can have grave consequences for some of California’s most vulnerable workers.”

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)