Silicosis is a very serious lung disease that is contracted by inhaling crystalline silica. Silica is contained in natural stone but occurs at a much higher quantity in engineered stone, like that commonly used in kitchens. Stonemasons and other trades people are working with these products far more frequently than ever before.
Even one inhaled particle can cause irreparable damage, however increased exposure accelerates the effects of the disease. Symptoms include a cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, laboured breathing and chest pains. Unfortunately, there is no cure for silicosis and the disease is often fatal.
In order to prevent trades people from contracting this awful condition, employers should provide workers with the appropriate respiratory face masks and ensure workers comply with wearing them. They should also ensure that wet-cutting equipment is used when working with material containing crystalline silica. Taking these measures minimises the employee’s level of exposure, which decreases the risk of contracting the disease.
Employees who work with crystalline silica should advise their general practitioner about their exposure and request routine investigations regarding their lung health.
If you are a worker affected by this silicosis, call Blumers today. Like with asbestos-related claims, an expedited hearing is often necessary to obtain compensation prior to the worker passing away.