Cal/OSHA Beefing Up Safety Enforcement to Protect Workers Against Silicosis

May 21, 2024

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health reports seeing growing number of silicosis cases among stone workers in California, and the agency is launching efforts to beef up its enforcement efforts.

Since 2019, more than 100 California stone workers have developed silicosis, with at least 10 deaths among workers under the age of 40.

Cal/OSHA is also trying to increase awareness of the dangers of being exposed to silica dust while working with man-made and natural stone, which often contains higher concentrations of crystalline silica that can scar lung tissue when inhaled.

On December 14, 2023, an emergency temporary standard was adopted to enhance existing guidelines for respirable crystalline silica hazards. Since then, Cal/OSHA reports closing several stone cutting shops in the state that were reportedly not providing proper safety protections for their employees.

The Department of Industrial Relations and Cal/OSHA recently launched a bilingual public awareness and education campaign that offers employers and workers resources and information about the proper use of safety equipment and safe worksite practices.

According to Cal/OSHA. increasing awareness of the dangerous effects of inhaling respirable crystalline silica dust from tasks like grinding, drilling and cutting, can help save lives and avoid incurable health conditions like silicosis, lung cancer and kidney diseases.

Topics California Workers' Compensation

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