Silica dust can be hazardous to people in Oklahoma or anywhere else who breathe it in. Some of the health hazards include scarred lung tissue, silicosis and the possibility of dying from prolonged exposure. While a new OSHA rule limited the amount of silica to which a worker could be exposed by 80 percent, the construction industry is still figuring out ways to comply with the mandate.
There are many ways in which construction companies can keep exposure to appropriate levels. For instance, it may be possible to vacuum dust to make sure that it doesn't fly away or use water to prevent it from getting into the air. Depending on the conditions at a job site, employees are allowed to use respirators if changing tools or tactics doesn't help mitigate silica exposure hazards.
The silica exposure rule went into effect on Sept. 23, 2017, and as of April 17, 2018, there have been 116 violations at the state and federal level. It is believed that the number of violations could increase as citations aren't necessarily given immediately after an inspection. In some cases, they can come up to six months after an inspection. One issue that contractors face is making sure that subcontractors comply with the new rule. Contractors can be held liable for violations committed by subcontractors.
Individuals who are victims of an on-the-job accident could be entitled to workers' compensation benefits that allow people to recoup lost wages while out of work. If a case involves gross negligence, it may be possible to pursue damages in a personal injury case. An attorney may review the matter to determine what type of legal action a person should take. In some cases, a settlement may be possible, which could prevent the need for a person to spend time and money in court.