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(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Silica exposures in fracking : Over 60 percent of workers may be excessively exposed

Silica exposure ironically was were the original workers' compensation exposures brought into the model acts post enactment ( 40 years+) as a vehicle to shelter employers from liability exposures. Today's post is shared from the Pump Handle

At least 1.7 million US workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica each year, this according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

These exposures occur in a variety of industries, among them construction, sandblasting, mining, masonry,  stone and quarry work, and in the rapidly expanding method of oil and gas extraction known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

This exposure can lead to silicosis,  an irreversible, and sometimes fatal, lung disease that is only caused by inhaling respirable silica dust. Silica exposure also puts exposed workers at risk of lung cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases.

It is also associated with autoimmune disorders, chronic kidney disease and other adverse health effects.

As big a number as 1.7 million is (about 200,000 more people than currently live in Philadelphia), the “true extent of the problem is probably greater than indicated by available data,” according to NIOSH.

 The CDC agency has also written, there  “are no surveillance data in the US that permit us to estimate accurately the number of individuals with silicosis.”


It is against this backdrop of ongoing exposures of nearly 2 million silica-exposed workers and the serious health effects, that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed a regulation to address the hazard.  One provision of the proposal would update the agency’s...
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.