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Given Silica Dangers, Employer Compliance is a Must

Jun 7, 2008
Given what we know about the toxic, even fatal, effects of silica exposure in the workplace, it is more vital than ever for employers to comply with local, state, and federal laws governing silica exposure. The crystalline toxin, which causes such fatal diseases as silicosis, pneumonia and even tuberculosis, is extremely dangerous - but with the proper safety measures, silicosis and other occupational diseases related to silica exposure are entirely preventable.

What Should Employers Do?

Compliance with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) regulations is absolutely vital for employers. Both OSHA and MHSA have established guidelines for the safe amount of silica that workers may be exposed to in any given shift. However, given broad medical evidence for the dangers of silica exposure to workers, mere compliance is no longer enough for employers.

Employers must be prepared to shoulder the burden of true silica precautions that protect their workers and minimize the chance of costly and lengthy silica litigation. For example, employers should be prepared to provide disposable or washable work garments and the proper washing facilities so that workers do not take toxic silica dust home with them.

They should participate in surveillance and air monitoring programs to assess and evaluate the amount of silica dust workers are being exposed to. And they should provide the best possible respiratory protection for workers who will be exposed to toxic silica dust in the normal course of business.

Negligence and Silica Law Suits

Unfortunately, silicosis has a long incubation period and may not show up in exposed workers until years, even decades, after original exposure. Silica litigation places the burden of proof on employers who need to prove that they were not negligent in their silica exposure. If employers fail to prove that they provided the best possible protection against silica exposure or are found to have failed to fully follow health and safety regulations, they are responsible for damages and compensation to affected workers.

What To Expect In Silica Litigation

You've received medical attention for your silica-related illness. You've consulted with an experienced silica attorney who has verified that you could be eligible for compensation and damages for your occupational silica exposure. What does a silica litigation entail?

Expect the litigation process to be long and often exhausting. As a silica litigant, you will be required to disclose often sensitive medical information in the name of the lengthy discovery process. Be ready to undergo an Independent Medical Examination (IME) in which an independent doctor diagnoses your silica-related illness and evaluates your medical history. In addition, the discovery process may uncover your employment and other records. If your case does not settle, it will prepare for jury trial.

Your attorney may hire an expert witness or two with experience in silica exposure and other occupational hazards. These experts will provide detailed testimony and reports for trial. In addition, your attorney may stage a mock trial or invest significant funds in exhibit and technological preparation for trial day.

These measures will ensure that your testimony is both convincing and compelling to a jury of your peers. If your silica law suit is found in your favor, you may be eligible for monetary compensation including but not limited to attorney's fees, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future medical care.
About the Author
Learn more about silica exposure at http://silica.legalview.com/ and for more information on other legal issues such as the Singulair risks, Chantix side effects or potential for a levaquin class action lawsuit, visit the LegalView homepage at http://www.LegalView.com where individuals can find an array of legal topics.
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