Occupational Health Watch: November 2019
Silicosis in Stone Fabrication Workers
Two California workers died in 2018 at the ages of 36 and 38 from severe silicosis. Both had worked at a stone fabrication company, polishing, dry cutting, and grinding slabs of engineered stone for countertops. Forty-three more employees of this company have so far been checked and almost 12% were found to also have silicosis. Silicosis is an incurable occupational lung disease caused by inhaling particles of respirable crystalline silica.
Silicosis is preventable if stone fabrication and installation employers follow the comprehensive
Cal/OSHA standard for silica and implement appropriate control measures to reduce dust levels.
OHB has published
guidance for countertop fabrication employers and workers to minimize exposure to silica dust when working with engineered stone.
Silica Safety Resources for Stone Fabricators – OHB website
Hazard Warning for Workers in English (PDF) and
Spanish (PDF) – fact sheet
Hazard Warning for Employers (PDF) – fact sheet
Silicosis Outbreak in Engineered Stone Fabrication Workers—18 Cases in 4 States (PDF) – Occupational Health Alert
Severe Silicosis in Engineered Stone Fabrication Workers — California, Colorado, Texas, and Washington, 2017–2019 – MMWR article