caret icon Back to all discussions

Silica dust exposure at work

I was exposed to silica dust while working at a shipyard. I am now being screened for a transplant and haven't gotten a dime from the shipyard. Anyone out there got a story like this and how do you fight?

  1. My own exposure was to nanosilica particles used to coat glass bottles. Because the glass industry calls the coatings polyethylene I was accused of being delusional when I claimed that they caused my respiratory failure and gastrointestinal damage. Turns out that they were just produced from polyethylene but were more akin to manufactured silica. I had to research the exact nature of the coating sprays which I was exposed to. I had to prove to physicians that the company had knowingly exposed me to the sprays without PPE. I had to get as much evidence of how every health issue I suffer from was caused by the nanosilica in the sprays. You should research the effects of 'nearly free silanols' as it is these small particles on the outside of silica dust which causes most of the health conditions related to silica exposures. You should also look into whether vasculitis, a potential outcome of silica exposure, may have resulted in your need for a transplant. You have to prove to your physicians that the workplace exposures caused your condition before a lawyer will even look at it, if my own case is anything to go by. I have been told that I need to accumulate as much documented evidence and related medical research as I possibly can in order to proceed to legal avenues.

    1. Hello @Docsparky! I am so sorry to hear that but hope that if a transplant is what you need, that you can get it. I don't know the answer but it looks like @Leon has a great idea about an occupational health lawyer. Please keep on fighting them and keep in touch and let us know how things go. Best, Jackie (Moderator)

      1. Here is Texas, we have a thing called OSHA - the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which has a local office literally everywhere in the US. Their job is to guide, maintain, and enforce the application of all Federal and other workplace laws designed to cover this and anything else. From the first aid kit, eye wash station, water fountains, and employer health and safety rules for all Americans who work for a living, and their employers. They are required by law to protect you and punish any employer in such a situation. If you are not in the US, I can't help you. But if you are, you should already have OSHA on it, and they should be taking measures to see that you receive proper care. Also, your employer is liable for any damage to your health regardless, in most countries I know of. Your attorney should be advocating for you.


        I had such a job once in my youth, hauling glass sand from a quarry to a glass plant. My employer did not provide me with breathing equipment, so I had no choice but to quit, report them to OSHA, and file a suit. I never got anything out of it, but they do furnish appropriate breathing apparatus now. In the end you are responsible, but you need to understand the risks at your job and force your employer to keep you safe. These agencies are there to help, but if you were exposed and not warned and provided with correct equipment, you employer is liable in every way. Unfortunately, that will not undo damage already done, though. Let us know how it goes.


        1. Hi Doc and thanks for your post. I am sorry to hear this happened to you and what is happening now, as well. I'm hopeful you will be eligible for the lung transplant if that is what is necessary.
          While others in the community may chime in with their own personal experiences, once they read about yours, I have something to say as well.
          If the shipyard is not supporting your medical position and anticipated expenses and, you have no other insurance, you may want to consider seeking out an occupational health lawyer.
          What do you think?
          Leon (site moderator COPD.net)

          or create an account to reply.