Silica Hazard Prompts OSHA to Cite Concrete Company

silica hazard cited by OSHA at repeat violator siteOn Jan 4th, 2017, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to New Jersey-based concrete company, County Concrete Corporation, for multiple violations involving a silica hazard. These citations, including, one repeat and two failure-to-abate violations, come as the result of a July 19th, 2017 follow-up inspection. The follow-up pertains to a prior 2013 inspection, where the agency issued citations for 18 safety and health violations to County Concrete, totaling $153,900 in penalties. For those citations issued for the recent 2017 investigation, the proposed penalties are, $88,544.

OSHA cited County Concrete for a repeat violation, regarding a potential chemical health risk. County Concrete failed, for the second time in four years, to conduct annual tests to ensure the proper fit of respiratory equipment for employees who were cleaning concrete mixers. The cleaning of concrete mixing equipment exposes employees to a silica hazard which is known to be carcinogenic. It poses a potential risk to the respiratory system and, if ingested or inhaled, can cause serious or fatal illness.

Those failure-to-abate violations which County Concrete was cited for, include:

  • Failure to develop and implement a written respiratory protection program for employees
  • Failure to provide medical evaluations for those employees

Previous inspections had revealed a blatant disregard for silica hazard protection mechanisms. OSHA Parsippany Area Office director, Kris Hoffman, said, “Our follow-up inspection found that two County Concrete employees were exposed to silica above the permissible limit as they cleaned concrete mixers. In 2013, OSHA cited this company for these same hazards. Employers must bear the responsibility of fully complying with respiratory protection requirements to protect the safety and health of their workers.”

Hazardous chemicals, including those present in a silica hazard situation, present some of the most serious and potentially fatal risks in the workplace. Silica exposure is among the most common chemical exposure and is usually a carcinogen found in high-risk jobs, such as stonecutting, quarry-work, and drilling. There is currently no cure for silicosis and, as such, exposure to silica carries a serious citation. One resource that safety leaders can utilize to ensure OSHA compliance and the health of their employees is an online HAZWOPER training-course