Silicosis is a potentially fatal but preventable occupational lung disease caused by inhaling respirable particles containing crystalline silicon dioxide (silica). Quartz, a type of crystalline silica, is the second most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust and workers across a wide range of occupations and industries are exposed to silica-containing dusts.
While milling asphalt pavement allows for materials to be recycled as roads are surfaced, cold-milling machines can generate airborne crystalline silica dust, putting road crews at risk of respiratory illness, according to Pete Stafford, Executive Director of the Center for Construction Research & Training (CPWR).
Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” is the process of injecting large volumes of water, sand, and chemicals into the ground at high pressure to break up shale formation allowing more efficient recovery of oil and gas.
Rule "probably not entirely technologically feasible" for all employers
February 3, 2014
ASSE commends OSHA for addressing this issue through rulemaking in an effort to further reduce the incidences of occupational illnesses such as silicosis and cancer in general industry, maritime and construction work. While some may debate the science underlying the findings set forth in the proposed rule, overexposure to crystalline silica has been linked to occupational illness since the time of the ancient Greeks, and reduction of the current permissible exposure limit (PEL) to that recommended for years by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is long overdue.
The government’s regulatory road is long, with many a winding curve – as shown anew in the fall regulatory agenda released last week by the Obama administration. Many of the regulations included have been in the works for years due to a variety of factors: a lengthy rule-making process, industry opposition, and, in some cases, delays by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Research examines work crew exposures to crystalline silica during hydraulic fracturing
August 8, 2013
A recent report published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) found respirable crystalline silica, a human lung carcinogen, to be an occupational exposure hazard for oil and gas extraction workers. The study is the first systematic investigation of worker exposure to crystalline silica during directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing, a process used to stimulate well production in the oil and gas industry.