Dust particles known as silica are a major concern to the construction and stonemason industries and cause serious health problems, including the fatal lung disease Silicosis.
Engineering controls and education are necessary to ensure workers health and safety.
Workplace exposure standards set out by Safe Work Australia state that exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) should not exceed 0.1 milligram per cubic metre over an eight-hour time-weighted average.
Silica dust is tiny, 100x smaller than a grain of sand, so most people don’t know they’re inhaling in when they do. It is the product of quartz and natural rocks as well as construction materials like cement, tiles and bricks.
It is crucial that protection is in place to ensure workers stay safe including breathing masks.