Petition File No. 597

Title 8, General Industry Safety Orders, Section 5204

Petition File No. 597
Western Occupational and Environmental Medical Association (WOEMA)
R. Terrazas, MD MPH

To amend title 8, General Industry Safety Orders (GISO), section 5204, Occupational Exposures to Respirable Crystalline Silica via an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to address the growing number of reported cases of advanced silicosis among workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica in engineered stone fabrication shops. The Petitioner asks the ETS address the use of engineered stone with a high silica content, the lack of regulated areas, dry fabrication work practices, inadequate respiratory protection, and lack of reporting the use of silica to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) Occupational Carcinogen Control Unit (pursuant to title 8, section 5203). Additionally, the Petitioner recommends the Division strengthen the penalty structure for violations, update guidance for medical providers and require physicians or other licensed health care professionals (PLHCP) report of silicosis cases to the Division.

The Petitioner notes that the current GISO standard for silica (title 8, section 5204) is insufficiently protective and believes that this emerging epidemic of advanced silicosis cases is a public health problem of great urgency, because irreversible end-stage lung disease has now been shown to develop in fabrication workers after only a few years of poorly controlled occupational exposure.