Companies are taking action to protect their workers from silica dust exposure. Since OSHA tightened regulations in 2016, the hazards of silica inhalation have been a growing concern among many sectors of the construction community. At Chemtek, we believe education on the subject is crucial for ensuring safety and helping contractors adopt new innovative safety practices.

Chemtek partnered with the contracting division of the West Central Region of Aggregate Industries, which is a division of LafargeHolcim, to give a presentation on silica safety. LafargeHolcim is the leading global construction materials and solutions company serving masons, builders, architects and engineers all over the world. Silica expert J. Lindsay Cook and NeSilex™ product manager David Elam shared their knowledge with a large group of paving crew members in the contracting division at the Adam Country Fair Grounds in Brighton, Colorado. Cook is the Senior Vice President at The EI Group, Inc and specializes in industrial hygiene, safety, air quality, noise, OSHA/EPA regulations, program auditing and management. The silica presentation was a part of a two-day training workshop on several safety topics including skin cancer, hearing, traffic control and more.

The conference was coordinated by safety coordinator Al Quist, project manager James Cryer, operations manager Rob Wise, and contracting division head Brenda Shuler. David Dziubinkse, head of health and safety for LafargeHolcim, was also in attendance.

The educational presentation began with a focus on what silica dust is, where it comes from, and its hazardous nature. Cook described how silica dust enters the lungs during everyday construction activities that put workers at great risk of silicosis. Other serious health risks include COPD, difficulty breathing, and lung cancer. Cook then gave an in-depth explanation on the current OSHA regulations surrounding silica dust including how workers can protect themselves and how companies can comply with the regulations stated in the Table 1 Guidelines of Rule CFR 1926.1153.

It is encouraging to see companies as large as LaFargeHolcim taking worker safety seriously and incorporating education and training into their practices. Investing in employee safety is vital to ensuring a secure future for companies who prioritize their biggest asset – their workers.

If you or your company is interested in learning more about the hazards of silica dust, current regulations, and best safety practices contact us today!

Lindsay Cook, Senior VP at The EI Group, Inc presenting the hazards of silica dust to industry workers.