South Carolina residents who cut concrete or saw bricks may come into contact with a substance called crystalline silica. Too much exposure to the substance can cause several health hazards such as lung cancer or silicosis. Over time, it may also lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or problems breathing in general.
New rules regarding exposure to crystalline silica were put into effect by OSHA in January 2013. In 2018, OSHA increased the penalties for failing to abide by the rules. The organization requires that construction companies opt for the wet cutting of concrete. Doing so reduces the amount of dust that is created. If wet cutting isn’t feasible, workers must be given the opportunity to wear respiratory masks that have been tested for proper fit before use.
Employers who fail to abide by the rule could be fined $12,934 as well as $12,934 per day if violations aren’t addressed. Companies that have repeated violations of this rule could face fines of $129,336. To avoid fines or other penalties, companies have made workplace safety training a priority. For example, a business called Orion Construction created a new role within the organization to keep up with OSHA silica standards as well as other safety protocols.
Those who are subject to unsafe working conditions on a construction site or any other workplace may be entitled to compensation. Benefits may include an employer’s workers compensation insurance company paying an employee’s medical bills related to the injury. This might help cover both current and future expenses. Workers may also be entitled to a portion of their salary while out of work. Generally, benefits are available regardless of who may have been at fault for causing an accident.