Contractor cited for exposing workers to silica hazards

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry has cited a contractor for exposing its workers to silica hazards.

September 11, 2018
Edited by Adam Redling

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) announced it has issued five citations and penalized the Roanoke, Virginia-based Lanford Brothers Company $304,130 for exposing its workers to silica hazards while using jackhammers to remove concrete from bridge piers along a stretch of I-81 in Marion, Virginia.

Agency inspectors found that Lanford Brothers failed to provide adequate eye and respiratory protection, did not assess each worker for potential exposure to respirable crystalline silica, and permitted workers to use jackhammers and concrete saws without adequate control methods.

Respirable crystalline silica, which is comprised of particles 100 times smaller than grains of sand, is generated during cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling and crushing processes involving stone, rock, brick, concrete, block and mortar.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), exposure to respirable crystalline silica can lead to serious disease and illnesses, including silicosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease.

OSHA has issued separate respirable crystalline silica standards for construction and general industry to protect workers from this exposure.