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Elevated exposures to respirable crystalline silica among engineered stone fabrication workers in California, January 2019-February 2020.
Am J Ind Med. 2022 09; 65(9):701-707.AJ

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Workers fabricating engineered stone face high risk for exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) and subsequent development of silicosis. In response, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) performed targeted enforcement inspections at engineered stone fabrication worksites. We investigated RCS exposures and employer adherence to Cal/OSHA's RCS and respiratory protection standards from these inspections to assess ongoing risk to stone fabrication workers.

METHODS

We extracted employee personal air sampling results from Cal/OSHA inspection files and calculated RCS exposures. Standards require that employers continue monitoring employee RCS exposures and perform medical surveillance when exposures are at or above the action level (AL; 25 μg/m3); exposures above the permissible exposure limit (PEL; 50 μg/m3) are prohibited. We obtained RCS and respiratory protection standard violation citations from a federal database.

RESULTS

We analyzed RCS exposures for 152 employees at 47 workplaces. Thirty-eight (25%) employees had exposures above the PEL (median = 89.7 μg/m3 ; range = 50.7-670.7 μg/m3); 17 (11%) had exposures between the AL and PEL. Twenty-four (51%) workplaces had ≥1 exposure above the PEL; 7 (15%) had ≥1 exposure between the AL and PEL. Thirty-four (72%) workplaces were cited for ≥1 RCS standard violation. Twenty-seven (57%) workplaces were cited for ≥1 respiratory protection standard violation.

CONCLUSIONS

Our investigation demonstrates widespread RCS overexposure among workers and numerous employer Cal/OSHA standard violation citations. More enforcement and educational efforts could improve employer compliance with Cal/OSHA standards and inform employers and employees of the risks for RCS exposure and strategies for reducing exposure.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Occupational Health Branch, California Department of Public Health, Richmond, California, USA. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Epidemic Intelligence Service, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.Occupational Health Branch, California Department of Public Health, Richmond, California, USA. University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, San Francisco, California, USA.Occupational Health Branch, California Department of Public Health, Richmond, California, USA. Public Health Institute, Richmond, Richmond, USA.Occupational Health Branch, California Department of Public Health, Richmond, California, USA.Occupational Health Branch, California Department of Public Health, Richmond, California, USA. University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, San Francisco, California, USA.Occupational Health Branch, California Department of Public Health, Richmond, California, USA.Occupational Health Branch, California Department of Public Health, Richmond, California, USA.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

35899403

Citation

Surasi, Krishna, et al. "Elevated Exposures to Respirable Crystalline Silica Among Engineered Stone Fabrication Workers in California, January 2019-February 2020." American Journal of Industrial Medicine, vol. 65, no. 9, 2022, pp. 701-707.
Surasi K, Ballen B, Weinberg JL, et al. Elevated exposures to respirable crystalline silica among engineered stone fabrication workers in California, January 2019-February 2020. Am J Ind Med. 2022;65(9):701-707.
Surasi, K., Ballen, B., Weinberg, J. L., Materna, B. L., Harrison, R., Cummings, K. J., & Heinzerling, A. (2022). Elevated exposures to respirable crystalline silica among engineered stone fabrication workers in California, January 2019-February 2020. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 65(9), 701-707. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajim.23416
Surasi K, et al. Elevated Exposures to Respirable Crystalline Silica Among Engineered Stone Fabrication Workers in California, January 2019-February 2020. Am J Ind Med. 2022;65(9):701-707. PubMed PMID: 35899403.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Elevated exposures to respirable crystalline silica among engineered stone fabrication workers in California, January 2019-February 2020. AU - Surasi,Krishna, AU - Ballen,Brittany, AU - Weinberg,Justine L, AU - Materna,Barbara L, AU - Harrison,Robert, AU - Cummings,Kristin J, AU - Heinzerling,Amy, Y1 - 2022/07/28/ PY - 2022/07/12/revised PY - 2022/05/09/received PY - 2022/07/12/accepted PY - 2022/7/29/pubmed PY - 2022/8/10/medline PY - 2022/7/28/entrez KW - engineered stone KW - occupational health KW - personal air sampling KW - respirable crystalline silica KW - silicosis SP - 701 EP - 707 JF - American journal of industrial medicine JO - Am J Ind Med VL - 65 IS - 9 N2 - BACKGROUND: Workers fabricating engineered stone face high risk for exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) and subsequent development of silicosis. In response, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) performed targeted enforcement inspections at engineered stone fabrication worksites. We investigated RCS exposures and employer adherence to Cal/OSHA's RCS and respiratory protection standards from these inspections to assess ongoing risk to stone fabrication workers. METHODS: We extracted employee personal air sampling results from Cal/OSHA inspection files and calculated RCS exposures. Standards require that employers continue monitoring employee RCS exposures and perform medical surveillance when exposures are at or above the action level (AL; 25 μg/m3); exposures above the permissible exposure limit (PEL; 50 μg/m3) are prohibited. We obtained RCS and respiratory protection standard violation citations from a federal database. RESULTS: We analyzed RCS exposures for 152 employees at 47 workplaces. Thirty-eight (25%) employees had exposures above the PEL (median = 89.7 μg/m3 ; range = 50.7-670.7 μg/m3); 17 (11%) had exposures between the AL and PEL. Twenty-four (51%) workplaces had ≥1 exposure above the PEL; 7 (15%) had ≥1 exposure between the AL and PEL. Thirty-four (72%) workplaces were cited for ≥1 RCS standard violation. Twenty-seven (57%) workplaces were cited for ≥1 respiratory protection standard violation. CONCLUSIONS: Our investigation demonstrates widespread RCS overexposure among workers and numerous employer Cal/OSHA standard violation citations. More enforcement and educational efforts could improve employer compliance with Cal/OSHA standards and inform employers and employees of the risks for RCS exposure and strategies for reducing exposure. SN - 1097-0274 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/35899403/Elevated_exposures_to_respirable_crystalline_silica_among_engineered_stone_fabrication_workers_in_California_January_2019_February_2020_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1002/ajim.23416 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -