Engineering Controls And Education Needed To Make Sure Workers Stay Safe From Silica

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.

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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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