Safety and health regulations play an important part in keeping workers safe, particularly workers who work in high risk professions. For those who work in construction and the fracking industry, which is picking up steam out east, one of the concerns is worker exposure to crystalline silica, which are essentially tiny grains of sand created in the course of working with stone, concrete, mortar and brick.
Exposure to silica is dangerous and can lead to silicosis and lung cancer. At present, exposure limits are the same as they were forty years ago, and are widely considered to be lax. OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, recently proposed new rules to limit silica exposure, saying the new limits would prevent roughly 700 deaths per year.
The new rules would affect 534,000 businesses, 90 percent of which are in the construction industry. Costs associated with the new rules could be as much as $640 million, though it is also estimated that the rules will save companies over $4 billion.
As should be expected, there has been pushback from the construction industry, but labor unions and other worker advocacy groups have been waiting for the proposed rules for some time, and are happy to finally see them.
Workers in construction and other industries take big risks in their line of work, and it is important for them to understand their options when it comes to gaining compensation for their injuries. Whether it means challenging a workers’ compensation decision or filing a personal injury lawsuit, there are options. An experienced attorney can help determine what the best approach is to gaining much needed compensation.
Source: New York Times, “New Rules Would Cut Silica Dust Exposure,” Steven Greenhouse, August 23, 2013.