The Board has inspected about a hundred companies in Almeria during the last two years

Quartz countertops.

Compacted quartz countertops.

The alarm generated by cases of silicosis among people who have worked with compacted quartz, the most common material in recent years in the manufacture of countertops and other surfaces, It is not a matter outside the Andalusian government, While the results of the work done in this regard have never been published as specific studies. authorized the Andalusian sources have confirmed Over the past two years have been visited or inspected by staff of the Center for Occupational Health and Safety a hundred companies in Almería. These visits are intended "to check whether they comply with the preventive measures, indicate the necessary improvements if they are relevant and inform the Labor Inspectorate in the event that the recommendations are not met "and indeed there is a" Plan against Silicosis ". The same source has been advanced that this pattern of action has continuity with an "Integral Program Silicosis in Andalusia, which it is coordinated with the Ministry of Health ".

The new action plan of the regional government planned thousand visits to workplaces in Andalusia in the next four years and incorporates a focus on health promotion and healthy habits, in addition to the prevention of occupational risks, but there is little data on affected, deceased or monitoring is done of detected cases because it is the state that manages information on occupational diseases.

Recording the effects of silicosis depends on the communication system of occupational diseases, CEPROSS, which it is within the giant Social Security, and the autonomous communities can only act or research on occupational diseases at the request of the Labor Inspectorate, also dependent on Social Security, so no ex officio actions by the Andalusian Autonomous Region.

Open secret

Although it is a problem that is studied in a more or less visible way since 2010, the emergence of complaints and reports in national media put on the table a crisis that so far only had treated with warm water. Headlines such as "your kitchen countertop mata" (The Spanish 30 July 2017) the Silicosis: Money in exchange for silence” (Interview 10 September) They end up putting the focus on Cosentino Almeria, inventor of Silestone. In this order it should also be noted that it was precisely the multinational almeriense first conducted enormous changes in the operating system and designing new products to bury the risks of disease that once occurred in the coalfields.

In January this year the company issues Hark Marbles, Macael, left on the street more than 30 workers after lockout, He caused the first public allegations affected by the disease, as they assured in meetings with political parties and unions that several employees of the factory were affected by this disease and to thereafter were outside of any protection.

Whatsoever it was in the year 2014 when they began to see the wolf ears that rots the lungs. In a press conference in Almeria then Secretary General of Employment Antonio González, He spoke of silicosis as an occupational disease had undergone a remarkable resurgence in recent years, "with 175 pneumoconiosis cases registered from a year silica Andalusia 2007, 37 of them in the Almeria province ".

In order to slow down their development sector companies in the manufactured stone, Board launched a pilot program in the year 2010 with 155 visits to workplaces. According to Antonio González, the objective from 2014 expand this initial performance was over 400 visits throughout the autonomous community, and significant impact of the plan in Almería, where they were held 128 inspections due to the strong presence in the province of this industry.

The plan was developed by technicians enabled by the Centers for Occupational Health and Safety in each province to ensure that all work materials machining techniques made quartz dust control measures in the focus of the generation. After this first inspection, The plan called mechanisms of checking the effectiveness of the security measures applied by exposure assessments. Equally, it was anticipated that workers dispusiesen review and usasen Respiratory adequate personal protective, subject to a surveillance program specific health.

Pneumoconiosis silica was responsible 50% professional parts of Respiratory disease reported in 2013 In Andalucia, year in which there were 23 professional communications of this pathology, two in Almería.

In 2015 then delegate the job, Clemente García, Marble focused accidents in "handling gantry cranes and bridges or entrapments by marble tables" as major accidents in the natural stone industry, and he added that "in terms of occupational diseases have been some cases of silicosis in recent years".

From then until now silicosis has been a slumbering problem, uncomfortable, silenced by the effects it may have on one of the main industries in the province, but the only known crisis management are visits or inspections to verify that companies comply with preventive measures. In the more human side of the uncomfortable situation they are affected and those who died in anonymity, silence that has contributed to public ignorance of what effects caused compacted quartz revolution now in millions of homes looks like a granite.

Source: Teleprensa