OSHA is rolling out a regional emphasis program (REP) aimed at identifying and reducing silica dust hazards in Colorado’s cut stone industry.
The agency says the cut stone and stone products manufacturing industry in Colorado has had the highest documented overexposures to respirable crystalline silica for the past 10 years.
OSHA found 30% of the documented overexposures in the region occurred in the cut stone and stone product industry.
Crystalline silica is a common mineral found in sand, concrete, natural and artificial stone, and other materials. It generates respirable dust during cutting, grinding and polishing processes. That dust can lead to silicosis, an incurable lung disease that could result in disabling or fatal injuries.
Struck-by, crushing hazards also addressed
The REP, which begins May 17, 2022, will focus on getting employers to follow required safety standards and alert workers to the hazards of respirable crystalline silica.
Additionally, the program will address struck-by and crushing hazards associated with the handling of granite, marble, limestone, slate and other stone slabs.
Outreach assistance to industry employers and employee groups have been ongoing in this area, according to OSHA.