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Date PostedSeptember 15, 2012

Construction workers at Risk of Respiratory Disease

Many construction workers are aware of the dangers that asbestos and other chemicals present to them, but not many are aware of the danger of inhaling silica dust, a dangerous element of construction work that can cause Respiratory Disease.

Some workers even risk their health by failing to wear PPE, to protect them from inhaling potentially deadly particles. These workers are placing themselves at risk of developing silicosis, a lung disease caused by silica dust collecting on the lungs. Silica can also cause permanent damage to the lungs and heart.

Silica dust is released from processes in building where sand, rocks, sandstone and granite are used.  Many employers are unaware that common building products such as clay bricks, concrete, tiles and fibro cement products contain silica as well. Silica dust is usually created when such building products, sandstone or rocks are cut, drilled or worked on in a way that creates fine particles of silica in the air. It is breathing in this crystalline form of silica that causes silicosis.

In order to avoid developing this disease, ensure you use a water hose to wet dust down at the point of dust generation.  Employers can also encourage good work practices to minimise exposures to nearby workers or even the public in the vicinity.


Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks. Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.

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