Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C.

Silica dust poses a significant hazard to workers

Workers who are exposed to silica are at risk of a condition known as silicosis. This condition is caused when the worker inhales crystalline silica. Some of the workers who are impacted by this condition include those in the construction, masonry, steel and various types of mining industries.

Silicosis might not appear right away when you are exposed to the inhalant. Instead, it can take weeks or longer to show up. Oftentimes, the early symptoms include a cough, shortness of breath and respiratory failure. This condition causes severe damage to the lungs and is often fatal. It is progressive and disabling. Smoking cigarettes can exacerbate the effects of silicosis.

Employers must provide employees with suitable protections against silica exposure. This can include using wet cutting methods and having respirators ready for all workers. People who are exposed to silica dust shouldn't eat or drink in the area where the substance is located. There should be suitable areas to wash hands before eating or drinking after exposure to silica.

The workers who are facing this condition are going to have a rough time dealing with the medical care and symptoms. Since this is a debilitating condition that is often fatal, the quality of life will decline. This isn't something that a person who was trying make a living should have to deal with.

No amount of compensation will make up for the suffering that the victim and the family members go through. It can make the journey a little easier since financial distress might not come along with the other struggles. For this reason, some workers might opt to pursue compensation.

Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, "Silicosis," accessed Nov. 02, 2017

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