Brick Manufacturer Under Fire for Exposing Workers to Silica Hazards

Brick Manufacturer Under Fire for Exposing Workers to Silica Hazards

A federal inspection found a West Virginia brick manufacturer exposed workers to respirable crystalline silica hazards.

Continental Brick Co. has been cited by OSHA after an investigation that found the employer failed to provide workers with personal protective equipment while working around materials that contained silica in a Martinsburg, West Virginia plant.

According to a press release, the agency determined that the company had failed to provide and require employees to wear respirators when working in areas where there was overexposure to respirable crystalline silica, a hazard that has been linked to serious diseases including lung cancer.

In addition to the silica exposure, OSHA found the brick manufacturer also did not implement adequate engineering or work practice controls, conduct scheduled monitoring, establish regulated decontamination areas or make a medical surveillance program available for employees exposed at or above the action level.

“Workers exposed to silica dust can lose their ability to work and to breathe,” said OSHA Area Director Prentice Cline in Charleston, West Virginia. “The Continental Brick Company must implement engineering and work practice controls and require appropriate respiratory protection to ensure workers are fully protected from this deadly hazard.”

The agency cited the company for two willful and six serious safety and health violations, and proposed penalties of $131,972.

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