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Silica dust on the job site: Inconsistent regulations force the industry to play catch up

  • By: NDA
  • On: 12/06/2018 08:18:33
  • In: Safety
  • Comments: 0
It takes decades of breathing in the fugitive dust created by drilling, cutting and grinding concrete, stone and other materials containing crystalline silica for silicosis to scar and harden the lungs. The incurable disease is one of a handful caused by inhaling the ubiquitous mineral in its most hazardous form: respirable crystalline silica (RCS).
Unavoidable jobs, such as power cutting, demolition, excavating and rock hauling, to name a few, unearth the dust — and in the absence of sufficient protective measures, workers are vulnerable to its health effects, which include autoimmune disease, chronic kidney disease, lung cancer, and of course, silicosis. 

In Canada, the regulations and occupational exposure limits (OELs) that govern silica dust often differ from province to province. While they're designed to protect frontline workers, the set of disharmonious safeguards can become a bureaucratic nightmare that trip up management and create uncertainty for workers. Read more here.

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