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Occupational Health Branch

Occupational Health Watch: November 2019

Silicosis in Stone Fabrication Workers

An illustration shows a worker cutting stone with dust in the air and a worker at a doctor's office being checkedTwo 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

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