Request for assistance in preventing silicosis and deaths in rock drillers
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Request for assistance in preventing silicosis and deaths in rock drillers

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    • Description:
      NIOSH requested assistance in preventing silicosis in workers exposed to crystalline silica (14808607) during rock drilling. The Alert contained information concerning surface mining processes, silica exposure during surface mine drilling, current exposure limits, health effects of crystalline silica exposure (including chronic silicosis, accelerated silicosis, and acute silicosis), and four case reports. The case reports described 23 cases of silicosis resulting from exposure to crystalline silica during rock drilling, including two workers who died from silicosis. Recommendations for reducing exposure included assessing the potential for worker exposure to crystalline silica during removal of overburden; air monitoring to measure worker exposures; the use of control measures such a wet drilling and exhaust ventilation; practicing good personal hygiene; wearing washable or disposable protective clothes at the worksite; using respiratory protection; providing periodic medical examinations; posting warning signs; providing workers with training; and reporting all cases of silicosis to state health departments and to OSHA and MSHA. Karl Musgrave, D.V.M., and John Parker, M.D., were the principal contributors to this Alert.
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      NIOSH alert
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