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health hazards in construction

There are many risks involved with being a contractor doing any type of construction.  As such, liability insurance and health concerns are a very controversial and heavily covered topic in both the media and blogs.  The reason for this is mainly to raise awareness of the dangers and help as many people as possible by preventing illness and injury.  One proponent of raising the health standards for contractors is OSHA and they are currently working on a proposal to decrease the number of people affected by crystalline silica – a small respirable particle capable of causing silicosis, lung cancer, chronic obtrusive pulmonary disease and kidney disease.  This harmful inhalant is given off when materials such as brick, stone, rock, concrete, and cement are cut, grinded, or drilled through by power tools.  It is 100 times smaller than ordinary sand.

While this proposal is nowhere near being finalized, OSHA is encouraging the public to raise awareness and submit comments to officials in public hearings.  Healthy working conditions for employees and employers is a feat they believe to be of the utmost importance.

According to Dr. David Michaels, the Assistant Secretary of OSHA, “Exposure to silica can be deadly, and limiting that exposure is essential. Every year, many exposed workers not only lose their ability to work, but also to breathe. This proposal is expected to prevent thousands of deaths from silicosis – an incurable and progressive disease – as well as lung cancer, other respiratory diseases, and kidney disease. Workers affected by silica are fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers lost to entirely preventable illnesses. We’re looking forward to public comment on the proposal.”

According to studies performed by OSHA, the proposed rule would save over 700 people annually and prevent 1,600 new cases of silicosis at the same time, once put into effect.  The results of the study were shared once analysis was made.  The data was collected from small businesses and industry giants and after careful consideration it was decided that the 40 year old standards no longer protect workers at an acceptable level.

Safety is one thing that directly affects insurance rates for small business liability, workers comp, and commercial auto.  By adhering to the most up to date standards in the contracting industry you can help minimize your costs long term  Contact our insurance professionals today if you have any questions regarding insurance rates.

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