Second compliance audit for SA on silica dust exposure

Wednesday, 07 October, 2020

Second compliance audit for SA on silica dust exposure

Following audits in 2019, SafeWork SA will perform a second round of audits from October 2020 on silica dust exposure, to ensure ongoing compliance within exposure limits and rectify any previously identified issues. SafeWork SA inspectors will visit workplaces identified as either being involved in fabrication and installation of engineered stone products or having the potential for high levels of exposure.

In 2019, SafeWork SA conducted compliance audits for respirable crystalline silica (RCS) exposure risks, with inspectors attending nearly 40 businesses and issuing 173 statutory notices to improve safe systems of work and reduce exposure levels. SafeWork SA Executive Director Martyn Campbell said the follow-up audit is a commitment to ensure businesses maintain compliance and understand their responsibility to protect their workers.

Exposure to dust containing respirable crystalline silica can lead to diseases like silicosis. Campbell said silica dust exposure is entirely preventable and is the responsibility of the workplace to know and control its dust exposure levels. In September 2019, Safe Work Australia published guidance on working with silica and silica-containing products, which recommends that workplaces have a current understanding of their silica exposures to assess the risk to workers’ health with air monitoring at least once per year. On 1 July 2020, SafeWork SA implemented a reduction to the workplace exposure limit for respirable crystalline silica to an eight-hour time weighted average of 0.05 mg/m3.

“SafeWork SA is closely monitoring industries and we are urging workplaces to go further than meeting the minimum exposure limits to protect their workers. Businesses should review their silica dust control measures, and undertake air monitoring to ensure the workplace exposure limit is not being exceeded,” said Campbell.

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