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Occupational Health Branch

Silica Safety Resources for Stone Fabricators

Información en español: Fabricantes de Encimeras y Enfermedad Pulmonar

Workers in California are getting silicosis – a deadly disease – doing stone countertop fabrication

In 2018, two California workers died at the ages of 36 and 38 from severe silicosis. Both had jobs at a stone countertop fabrication company working on engineered stone. Since then, the California Department of Public Health has learned of dozens of other workers in California who are suffering from severe or "accelerated" silicosis from their work in this industry. The California Artificial Stone and Silicosis (CASS) Project was created to promote awareness in the industry and among health care providers, so we can identify workers who are at risk and help make their workplaces safer.

NIOSH poster about silicosis in stone fabrication workers

Worker sanding stone countertop in a large fabrication shop

Silica, silicosis, and other health effects
Crystalline silica is found in many materials. Sand, stone, concrete, mortar, and artificial stone contain silica. Silica dust particles small enough to breathe in are created when workers cut, saw, grind, drill, or crush these materials. Abrasive blasting with sand is another source of silica dust.

When very small particles of silica dust get in the air, they can be breathed into the lungs and cause silicosis. Silicosis is an incurable lung disease that can lead to disability and death. Silica dust can also cause lung cancer, kidney disease, and autoimmune disease.

Poster from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH

Safety Resources to help prevent silica exposures in countertop fabrication

For help measuring silica exposure or complying with  the Cal/OSHA silica standards:

Professional publications

General silica prevention resources, including Construction

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