Those who work in hydraulic fracturing operations are at high risks for a work-related accident in Asheville and elsewhere. Because of the dangers that these workers face, officials with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued a hazard alert asking for employers of these workers to take the proper safety precautions to protect them from silica exposure.
The recent hazard alert is comes on the heels of a study that was conducted by industry partners and officials with NIOSH. The study pointed out the real risks that these workers are at for overexposure to silica and they’re pretty serious.
Our Asheville workers’ compensation attorneys understand that respirable silica is a hazard common to many industrial processes and industries. Unfortunately, there are large quantities of silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing. Because of this, officials with NIOSH launched a cooperative effort back in January of 2010 to look at records of hydraulic fracturing operations and risks of silica exposure. Through the study, officials teamed up with the oil and gas industry to test out the air at various work sites in more than 10 states. The workers that had the highest risks for silica exposure-related injuries were those who worked downwind of blender and sand mover operations.
Employees who work around silica all day run the risk of developing silicosis. This is a disease that results from inhaling silica day after day. Silicosis is a disease that occurs when the tissue in the lung reacts negatively to silica that has been inhaled. This disease causes both inflammation and scarring of the lungs. When this happens, the victim will notice difficulty breathing as the lung is not equipped to absorb oxygen as well. Silica, when overexposed, can cause lunch cancer. It has also been attributed to a number of other diseases, including kidney and autoimmune disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and tuberculosis.
After concluding the study, officials with OSHA and with NIOSH concluded that employers need to make sure that their employees are protected from these dangers. The silica alert offers information to help employers to properly train workers and to properly protect them. Work practices and engineering controls are the best way to keep these workers safe.
The alert covers the health effects of breathing in silica, as well as recommends ways a number of ways to protect workers and it tells us how OSHA and NIOSH can help. Both employers and employees need to be aware of the dangers that silica dust presents. Employers are required, under federal law, to ensure that workers are properly protected from exposure to silica.
“It is important for employers and workers to understand the hazards associated with silica exposure,” said OSH’s Dr. David Michaels.
Contact the Asheville workers’ compensation lawyers at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. for legal advice regarding your rights. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed on the job in the Carolinas, call today to schedule a free and confidential appointment. Call 1-800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
Driving Employees at Risks for Serious Work Accidents in Greenville and Elsewhere, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, June 16, 2012
Work Accidents in Asheville and Elsewhere Targeted with Renewed OSHA Alliance, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, June 14, 2012