Silica may have Left Worker At-Risk, Insurer Doesn’t Have to Pay

On October 29, a Pennsylvanian U.S. District Court judge terminated a case where a construction worker filed against Diamond Contract Flooring for lung injuries he suffered after being exposed to toxic materials, according to court documents. The plaintiff, Philip Mauro, won a $375,000 damages award in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas against the flooring company, according to documents.

“[Diamond’s insurance policy] unambiguously provides that injuries due to inhaling silica dust are excluded from coverage by the Silica Exclusion. Further because silica sand is a form of crystalline silicone dioxide, any claim premised on the inhalation of silica sand also falls unambiguously under the Silica Exclusion. Accordingly, Ohio Security has no duty to provide coverage or indemnify Diamond for the judgment against it,” court documents conclude.

Not only is silica a key ingredient in the manufacture of glass, but OSHA officials say the most severe exposures to crystalline silica result from abrasive blasting, which is used for etching or frosting glass. Additionally, crystalline silica exposure can occur in the maintenance, repair and replacement of the linings of refractory brick furnaces, such as those used to manufacture glass.

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