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Countertop makers could face unsafe working conditions

Workers who have specific skills in California and across the nation will be trusted to do certain jobs that are difficult and lucrative. When they are working with substances that could be dangerous, they should be aware of their rights to workers' compensation if they are injured or become ill. If, for example, they are working with minerals and substances that carry various risks, it is important to understand what recourse they have should they get sick. There could be medical costs, lost wages and other problems that impact their lives and their families' lives. Workers' compensation claims could provide for their needs.

For example, it has become popular for homeowners and designers to have items in the home made from natural stone. That includes quartz and granite. A danger of these substances is silica dust. A problem with this is that workers have become ill after cutting the natural stone. Lawmakers seek to provide protections for these workers. If the dust is properly controlled, the risk is mitigated, if not eliminated completely. However, workers in multiple states, including California, have gotten sick with lung issues after cutting these materials. Two were found to have silicosis after they died.

Silicosis is a progressive condition and there is no strategy for medical professionals to treat it, except for giving the person a lung transplant. An estimated 100,000 people work in this profession, leading to safety concerns and the desire to find ways to protect them. The goal is for the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to formulate a program smoothing the way for increased inspections of workplaces that deal with cutting stone. The silica will need to be tested to ensure it is limited and workers are safe.

People can be confronted with unsafe working conditions in many circumstances. Oftentimes, they were completely unaware that the substances they worked with were dangerous until it was too late. Such was the case with asbestos, for example. For workers who might have been negatively affected by exposure to silica after working with natural stone or have any other medical issue because of the work they were doing, workers' compensation benefits may help.

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