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  • Gary McAteer

Continuing with the theme of Lung Protection

Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS)

According to the (Encyclopedia Britannica 2018) an Italian medical professor called Dr Bernadino Ramazzini who was thought to have been " the founder of occupational medicine" recognised the health effects associated with dust when studying stone workers. Postmortems of stone workers then went on to show sand like substances embedded in workers lung tissue.

The following quote just about sums it up "The mortality of those who dig minerals is very great, women who marry men of this sort marry again and again. According to Agricola, at he mines in the Carpathian mountains, women have been known to marry seven times" (Ellis 2018).


So the year 2020, we have learned from history, right? Wrong! The fact that poor practices are still happening, I witness it almost daily, workers are dying needlessly every day. In fact 7000 people die each year from lung cancer associated with RCS exposure in the EU alone (No time to lose campaign, 2018).

  1. Workers put themselves at risk every time they pick up a drill or concrete saw!

  2. Managers/planners put workers at risk every time they inadequately plan a job!

  3. Colleagues put people at risk every time they look the other way or do not challenge!

  4. Ineffective regulation puts workers at risk!


Lets look at each one in turn.

  1. Construction sites, quarries, stonemasons, miners, tunneling, sand blasting and manufacturing. Just some of the industries where workers are more at risk. Why? Working with stone raw materials or products, certain stone contains up to 90% silica in make up. That in itself will not just be enough to cause cancers and silicosis in workers. Research has shown me that workers think that they are invincible, take construction generally young to middle aged men with with many y