Every year, over 200 workers in the United States die from a disease called silicosis. Hundreds of other workers - some as young as 22 years old – become disabled, unable to provide for themselves or their families. Silicosis is caused by breathing in fine particles of silica which become trapped inside the lungs. They cannot be removed; they simply build up over time until the victim is permanently disabled or worse. Silica particles are found in many kinds of rock, masonry, paints, concrete, soil, mortar, and plaster. Any type of work that involves cutting, drilling, digging, abrading, or blasting these kinds of materials puts workers at risk for this disease.
We all have activities we look forward to when fall rolls around. For some, it’s hay rides and pumpkin patches. For others, it’s family cookouts. For me, nothing beats curling up with some good research on workplace dental trauma. For example, in a study published in Occupational Medicine, researchers discovered 1.71 out of every 1000 workplace accidents involves dental trauma, most requiring surgery and sick leave lasting several days or weeks. OSHA considers dental trauma a serious, recordable injury. I was thinking about it because of a sneaky hazard our safety experts are starting to hear more and more about: exposed valve stems.