Many New York construction workers take on jobs outside of the city limits. Many even will travel to other states in order to find work suitable to their experience and training. With the State of Pennsylvania seeking qualified employees for work on their hydraulic fracturing sites, many workers from New York are venturing across state lines.
Due to the nature of the fracking jobs, workers are being warned of the significant risks they face with exposure to toxins on the job site. OSHA has recently released a warning in conjunction with NIOSH to caution workers on hydraulic fracturing sites about the damage that can be caused by exposure to silica dust.
Crystalline silica is often found on fracking worksites. When workers are breathing in the contaminants at unsafe levels, they are at risk of developing silicosis. This is a serious lung condition that can cause difficulty in breathing. Scar tissue development and the eventual breakdown of lung tissue will occur with the progression of the disease. In many cases, serious exposure can require a lung transplant. Some workers may also be susceptible to developing tuberculosis.
OSHA issued the alert to warn workers about the importance of proper education and the prevention of exposure to the toxic silica. Those who are exposed to the toxins may not see any symptoms or signs of health problems until many years down the road, long after exposure. Any worker who has already been exposed to silica should be evaluated thoroughly by their doctor and be conscious of any developing issues with breathing or the lungs in general. Regular medical care will be necessary for an early diagnosis.