Tradie Death Sparks Fears of Silicosis Epidemic

A Queensland stonecutter has died from silicosis, sparking concerns of an epidemic of deaths in the industry.

More cases have began to emerge of silicosis diagnosis in Queensland and around Australia, with Gold Coast stonecutter Anthony White being the latest victim.He had become the face of the vicious disease after being diagnosed due to inhalation of crystalline silica dust.

It is believed he was the first tradesman to die of the disease in Australia.

Mr White’s brother who worked alongside him, was also diagnosed with silicosis, just days before his brother died of the disease.

Safe Work Australia is focusing on addressing the risks posed by dust exposure in the workplace, including in the engineered stone industry.

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Silicosis Claims Young Workers Life

A Gold Coast tradesman who was diagnosed with silicosis, the deadly lung disease has died.

Anthony White, the 36 year old tradie was diagnosed in November 2017 and since then has highlighted the consequences of prolonged exposure and lack of protection against exposure to silica dust.

Silicosis is the scarring of the lung tissue caused by silica dust inhalation.

Mr White was the first Queensland worker from the engineered stone industry with the illness to have passed away.

WorkSafe highlighted the importance of preventing further tragedies of this nature by ensuring employers meet their obligations to provide safer workplaces.

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Deadly Lung Disease- Silicosis Affecting Tradies Around Australia

Silicosis is the deadly lung disease affecting tradewokers around Australia and the problem is worse than we thought.
A recent article on highlighted the story of one tradie who is suffering from the disease and has to use an inhaler to receive some relief from the pain. Doctors say one day he will have to use an oxygen tank.
The disease is fatal unless the patient receives a lung transplant.
Miners, construction workers and engineers are at risk but stonemasons are at particularly high risk because of the dust released when cutting kitchen benchtops, and the lack of suitable protection like breathing masks.

Stonemasons Suffering Because of lack of WHS Adherence

Stonemasons are suffering from silicosis and associated diseases because of a lack of adherence to workplace health and safety laws.

Tradie Cameron Harper is one of those suffering from silicosis because he didn’t realise how serious the risks were of not wearing the appropriate protection. The 27 year old former stonemason has now been diagnosed with silicosis.

Silicosis is a serious and possibly life-threatening disease which is caused by exposure to silica or quartz dust.It involves the scarring of lungs which eventually causes respiratory impairment and in some people requires a lung transplant and may be fatal.

The scary part about silicosis in Australia is that it is on the rise, despite it declining globally. This spike in occupational exposure is believed to be due to the risk in engineered or artificial stone products, commonly used for kitchen benchtops.

As a tradie, what you suspect to be a persistent chest infection could actually be more serious.

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The Danger of inhaling Silica on construction sites

Workers in the Construction industry especially those working with concrete or glass are at risk of developing a condition termed Silicosis.

Silicosis occurs when fibrous tissue forms around the dust particles that have entered the lungs. This fibrous tissue does not allow for the easy exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, resulting in obstructed breathing, a problem for the worker.

Workers most vulnerable to contracting silicosis include underground mining, tunnelling and excavation workers, workers involved in extraction and cutting of quartzite, gneiss, granite and slate, workers involved in brick making or the manufacture of pottery, porcelain, refractory materials and siliceous abrasives, road construction workers and demolition workers.

This video from YouTube highlights the danger that silica can present to construction workers:

The only sure way of preventing silicosis is to avoid dust exposure but of course this is not always possible. Wherever possible, less toxic substances should be used rather than silica sand. Tools causing dust such as saws and grinders should be fitted with dust extraction devices.

Another important consideration is that of good housekeeping on site. Some of the measures that can be undertaken are vacuuming and wet sweeping rather than dry sweeping