SafeWork NSW to embark on silica roadshow

Monday, 22 July, 2019

SafeWork NSW to embark on silica roadshow

People working with silica in regional centres across NSW will soon be able to brush up on safe work practices at SafeWork NSW’s Silica Roadshow — Unmasking those that don’t work safe. The roadshow is set to start in Orange on 6 August. It will then visit Liverpool, Ballina, Newcastle, Tamworth and Queanbeyan from August to October.

It is designed for business owners and employees who work with manufactured stone and sandstone, as well as those in the tunnelling, mining and domestic construction industries, according to SafeWork NSW Executive Director Andrew Gavrielato. “Speakers at the roadshow will cover topics on dust control measures, services available for health screening and air monitoring, as well as industry-specific case studies on achieving best practice,” Gavrielato said. 

Cut, ground or drilled silica-containing products can generate dust particles small enough to be inhaled. These can cause diseases such as silicosis, lung cancer, kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“The Cancer Council is predicting one in 100 workers with past exposure to silica without correct safety measures will develop [lung cancer],” Gavrielatos said. “This disease is preventable with the correct safety measures in place. This includes having adequate ventilation systems, installing dust capture systems on portable tools, wetting down the stone, providing personal protective equipment such as masks and respirators, and not using compressed air to remove or clean up settled dust.

“Businesses should also conduct regular air monitoring to confirm that crystalline silica dust is not exceeding the Australian Workplace Exposure Standard and provide health monitoring to workers,” Gavrielatos said.

Workers and employers can register for the roadshow via the events page on the SafeWork NSW website.

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