[author: Adrian Miedema]
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (“NIOSH”) have issued a hazard alert to employers engaging in hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – operations, requiring those employers to take adequate steps to protect workers from silica exposure.
OSHA states that large quantities of silica sand are used during fracking. OSHA notes that “workers who breathe silica day after day are at greater risk of developing silicosis, a lung disease. OSHA says that silica can also cause other diseases.
The Hazard Alert states that a combination of engineering controls, work practices, protective equipment and product substitution, where feasible, along with worker training, can protect workers exposed to silica.