Crystalline silica is often used as a blasting agent in crushing and drilling rock or in masonry and concrete work. You can breathe in silica particles, and over time, the exposure to these tiny particles of dust can cause scarring in your lungs. This condition is known as silicosis, which is a progressive, disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease.
A welder was killed in the explosion of a 10,000-gallon gas tank, an accident that could happen in California or anywhere that highly flammable material is stored in large tanks. Authorities were investigating the Pennsylvania blast, and had not ruled out negligence or carelessness in the Aug. 19 accident. In 2011, 4,609 workers were killed while on the job, according to statistics from the United States Department of Labor. That was a rate of about 90 deaths per week, or almost 13 per day.