Silica is a common, naturally occurring material found in sand, granite, and soil, and is used in a variety of building materials, such as glass, concrete, and masonry. As substances containing silica are chipped or chiseled away, small particles of silica dust are released into the air. In recent decades, we have learned people who inhale silica dust are at a significant risk of respiratory problems and chronic lung diseases, including silicosis and lung cancer.
Workers in construction and other building trades are especially vulnerable to silica-related health problems because of their prolonged exposure to this substance. Many seek compensation for the serious and preventable health conditions that impact their quality of life.
Federal Safety Guidelines to Prevent Silica Exposure
Because we now understand the risks to workers exposed to silica dust in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, mining, and other industries, the federal government has strict safety standards in place to protect workers. In addition to limits on the acceptable silica dust levels in the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to:
- Use and maintain dust control systems
- Require workers to wear washable or disposable protective clothing
- Require workers to shower and change before leaving the job site
- Require workers to use respirators in toxic environments
- Post information and train workers on the risks of silica dust exposure
Employers who fail to adhere to OSHA’s safety requirements may be liable in a claim for silica exposure damages.
Liability and Silica Dust Health Problems
Workers suffering from silicosis or other chronic illnesses caused by silica exposure generally have three options to seek compensation for the medical expenses incurred as a result of their loss of income when they are physically unable to work.
- Workers’ Compensation claim: Workers’ Compensation benefits cover medical bills and lost wages
- Civil lawsuit: If the disease can be traced back to the manufacturer of a silica-based product
- Class action claim: When a group of people are exposed to silica dust
If you have been exposed to silica dust and have concerns about the risk for disease or have already been diagnosed with health conditions caused by toxic exposure, it is time to contact an experienced attorney. A Bear DE Workers’ Compensation lawyer reviews your situation, explains your legal options, and helps you take the first step to recover compensation for your preventable condition.
Bear DE Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Workers Exposed to Silica Dust
While silica is an important resource used in ways that benefit our everyday lives, workers who are not protected from inhaling its dust have a significant risk of contracting serious, incurable diseases. If your employer failed to protect you from silica exposure, the Bear DE Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow assist with the financial impact a serious illness can cause. Call us at (302) 600-1107 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Bear, Milford, and Wilmington, Delaware, we proudly represent workers throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.