A group of workers in four states have suffered from severe lung damage after breathing in silica dust while cutting stone countertops. As a result, lawmakers in Congress are petitioning the Department of Labor to set new regulations to protect the workers who deal with stone countertops.

Silica is commonly found in engineered stone countertops, which have become increasingly popular in American households. Some stone contains up to 90% silica. The resulting dust is harmful to workers and can cause severe lung damage and even death. Two workers have already died as a result of inhaling the silica dust. This has caught the attention of safety experts who are worried about the tens of thousands of other workers who are exposed to the dust on a daily basis.

Lawmakers in Congress have asked the Department of Labor to form a National Emphasis Program that will allow OSHA to inspect stone cutting facilities and make sure the workers aren’t breathing in too much silica dust. Without it, OSHA can’t perform an inspection unless an employee complains or someone gets injured on the job.

Where can workers go for assistance with workers’ compensation claims?

If an employee is injured or falls ill because of unsafe work conditions, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation. When filing a claim, they might wish to hire an attorney. An attorney might be able to guide them through the process and help them receive maximum benefits. In the event that the employer or insurance company denies their benefits, the attorney might be able to help their client bring the case to court. Their client might be able to successfully negotiate for a settlement that covers their medical bills.